'Transformers' Star Jack Reynor Boards Ben Wheatley's 'Free Fire'

Issue 22 REP Jack Reynor - P 2014
Kevin Miyazaki

Issue 22 REP Jack Reynor - P 2014

The up-and-comer joins Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy and Brie Larson in the Martin Scorsese-exec produced crime thriller.

Up-and-coming actor and Transformers star Jack Reynor has been added to the cast of Free Fire, the upcoming crime thriller from British director Ben Wheatley.

The American-born Irish actor — alongside other new additions Sam Riley (Malevolent, Control) and Noah Taylor (Edge of Tomorrow) — joins Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy and Brie Larson in the Martin Scorsese-exec produced film, which commenced production on Monday. Other cast members include Michael Smiley (The Lobster), Enzo Cilenti (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Babou Ceesay (Eye in the Sky). Luke Evans and Olivia Wilde had previously been attached to the film but had to drop out over scheduling changes.

Free Fire, which Wheatley earlier claimed came from his “love of hard-boiled crime movies,” is set in late '70s Boston, with Larson playing a woman who has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Murphy and Smiley) and a gang (led by Hammer and Copley) who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart-stopping game of survival ensues. Wheatley wrote the script with long-term writing collaborator Amy Jump.

The film comes right after Wheatley’s recently completed High-Rise, based on the dystopian novel by J.G. Ballard and starring Tom Hiddleston and Sienna Miller.

Said to have a budget of $10 million, Free Fire is being backed by Film4 and the BFI. StudioCanal has already acquired U.K. rights, while Sony Pictures has territories including Australia/New Zealand, Latin America, Scandinavia and Spain. London-based Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales of the film and is co-representing for North American rights with WME and Film4.

Mike Goodridge, CEO of Protagonist Pictures, said that Wheatley and his producer partner and Rook Films co-founder Andy Starke had “come a long way” in the six years since their first collaboration on 2009’s British crime drama Down Terrace. “The knockout international cast they have attached to Free Fire only fuels our confidence in the remaining worldwide sales prospects for their most commercial film yet," he said.

Film4’s director David Kosse added: "Ben is one of our most exciting and original filmmakers and a great example of the bold British talent we want to support at Film4. What better way to continue our long-standing collaboration with him and Rook films than this explosive thriller?”