Ben Wheatley discusses origins of In The Earth

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Ben Wheatley has been chatting about the conception of his latest film, as well aas discussing how Halloween was an inspiration.

Ben Wheatley has been nattering about his upcoming film, In The Earth, shedding a little light on the timeline that led him to write the pandemic-inspired story that would be conceived, shot, edited and released in some markets within the space of a year.

In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Wheatley detailed how as the world went into lockdown, the collapse of Tomb Raider 2 – which Wheatley was set to direct – was a major factor. “That week it just felt like the end of everything. On Wednesday it was like, we might lock down on Friday. I had quite a few projects, and they all just gutted out. We were doing a bit of Tomb Raider but that looked like it was going right into the long grass and wasn’t going to happen. And that was an international production, shooting all over the world, so there was just no chance. And then I was thinking, is this the end of cinema?”

Wheatley, whose next project is the big-budget sequel to 2018’s The Meg, goes on to discuss how the story for In The Earth came together, speaking with remarkable candour about how the pandemic affected him and led him to conceive the project.

“I wanted to write something that was completely contemporary,” says Wheatley.  “All the scripts from before are about another world, and that world’s gone. I felt like the person I was was gone. That person who was bouncing from movie to movie, from Rebecca to Tomb Raider, whatever. That run, which had been maybe six or seven years of solid work, suddenly stopped, and I had a chance to breathe and kind of think what I actually wanted to do next.” 

Perhaps most interestingly, Wheatley revealed that the production of John Carpenter’s Halloween was a major influence in convincing him and his team that a project with so many limitations was still possible. As he says, “it’s a model, but part of what inspired us to make it was finding paperwork from Halloween online. Their schedule was longer, like maybe two or three days more. But the movies that are the bedrock of genre are made on that kind of schedule. And these movies are 90 minutes — they’re in, they’re out, and they’re shot in three or four weeks. I think even our budget was similar to Halloween in the end. So that side of it was really inspiring. You’re looking at something like Halloween — it’s such a masterpiece but it was done incredibly frugally”.

It’s a really great interview which is well worth checking out. In The Earth is set to release in UK cinemas on June 18th.


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