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First Image From Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise

Exclusive: Meet Tom Hiddleston’s Dr Robert Laing

tom hiddleston high rise

Of all the films whipping Empire into a state of excitement this year, Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, the adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel, is taking the elevator to the penthouse suite – and here, in this world exclusive, we have the first look at Tom Hiddleston as the film’s anti-hero, Dr Robert Laing.

Set in 1975, High-Rise documents the shocking breakdown of class and social structures within a brand-new high-tech London apartment building as its residents, including Laing, slowly give in to their more animalistic impulses, turning the building into a bacchanalian den of iniquity.

The movie, which has been taken to market in Berlin by Hanway Films, boasts an astonishing cast headed up by Hiddleston, along with the likes of Luke Evans as class warrior/documentarian Richard Wilder, Jeremy Irons as Anthony Royal, the building’s architect, Sienna Miller as Charlotte, Royal’s aide, and James Purefoy as upper-class nitwit, Pangbourne.

Wheatley, of course, is the director of the likes of Kill List, Sightseers and A Field In England, and his first film in almost two years (for him, that’s a Kubrickian hiatus) is cause for excitement all by itself. Add that cast, writer/editor Amy Jump and producer Jeremy Thomas into the mix, and the scene is set for an intense, claustrophobic and extraordinarily dark vision of humanity.

“The book makes as much sense now as it did then,” Wheatley told Empire when the movie, which was filmed last summer in Northern Ireland and will be released later this year by StudioCanal, was first announced back in 2013. “It was written in the '70s, projecting itself into a near future, but we live in that future now. We’re almost in a new version of the '70s.”

For another exclusive shot from the film, along with quotes from Hiddleston and Evans, make sure to pick up the next issue of Empire when it goes on sale on February 27.