Exclusive New Concept Art From Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire

Free Fire

by Empire Staff |
Published on

The new issue of Empire is available in all good and evil newsagents now, and among the many cinematic bounties within, there are six pages of coverage on Free Fire, the ninety-minute-gunfight flick from prolific British director Ben Wheatley. Empire visited the Brighton warehouse set of the film, after which Mr Wheatley very kindly provided us with some early illustrated concept art from the film – see below, and click to embiggen for a super high-res version.

The concept art is remarkably close to the finished product, largely due to the heavy prep from Wheatley’s team, including production designer Paki Smith and cinematographer Laurie Rose. The search for a suitable location led the team to the former HQ of Brighton’s leading paper, The Argus; just round the corner, handily enough, from Wheatley’s own house. “It was perfect,” says Smith. “It was a lovely empty space with nicely painted walls and floors. We made a complete fuck-up of it, which was great.”

But it wasn’t a free-for-all shoot first, ask questions later kind of shoot-out: every gunshot and manoeuvre was meticulously planned. “Seven weeks before we started filming, we had to decide where all the bullet hits were going,” says Wheatley. “The action couldn’t really change. You could come unstuck quite badly if you didn’t think about how someone was going to get from A to B, and fuck, if all along they could see each other and shoot at each other. So as we were building it, I would say, ‘These walls are too high or too low,’ and we adjusted it as we went along.”

This is just a sneak preview of an extensive feature, of course – for the full set report from Free Fire, including interviews with stars Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley and Brie Larson, plus more from Wheatley and his crew, be sure to grab a copy of the new issue of Empire, on sale in all good and evil newsagents now. It’s also available to buy online as a single issue there.

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