AFM: Olivia Wilde, Cillian Murphy Board Crime Thriller 'Free Fire'

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Olivia Wilde

U.K. director Ben Wheatley’s first film set in the U.S. will also star Armie Hammer and Luke Evans and will be presold at the market

Rising U.K. director Ben Wheatley will be heading to the U.S. for the first time with his next movie, 1970s crime drama Free Fire, which has lined up Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde and Luke Evans as castmembers.

Wheatley regular Michael Smiley will also star. Evans also features in Wheatley’s upcoming film High-Rise, currently in post-production.

Free Fire, which is being launched for presales at AFM by Protagonist Pictures, is set in 1978 in Boston. Wilde is set to play a woman who brokers a meeting between two men — Murphy and Smiley — and a gang led by Hammer and Evans. The film has a $10 million budget.

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"The idea for Free Fire came from my love of hard-boiled crime movies; from The Asphalt Jungle, The Big Sleep, The Killing and The Big Combo through The Driver, Le Samourai and The French Connection, to the modern cycle of Goodfellas, Casino, Hard Boiled and Reservoir Dogs," said Wheatley. "Free Fire will take you and stick you in the middle of the action. I want the film to have the stylish, no-nonsense feel that you get in Peckinpah's The Getaway. It’s a modern ’70s movie — muscular, tough and spare."

Wheatley, who rose to prominence with U.K. dramas Down Terrace, Kill List and Sightseers, most recently directed the first two episodes of the current season of BBC sci-fi hit Doctor Who starring Peter Capaldi.

"The notion of Ben Wheatley making a hard-boiled American ’70s crime drama is just too exciting for words,” said Protagonist CEO Mike Goodridge.

StudioCanal has already acquired U.K. rights for Free Fire.

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