Well, kids, it's that time of year again. Time for our annual 5 Questions with Director Ben Wheatley, that is! Siân had a lot of fun asking Mr. Ben Wheatley questions last year about his Vangurd film Sightseers and now she's back with round two for Wheatley's Wavelengths film, A Field in England.
SM: Watching A Field in England, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to Barry Lyndon and Witchfinder General. Did either of those films inspire yours? What drew you to doing a period piece in the first place?
BW: All Kubrick is an inspiration. Witchfinder is a similar period but not really an inspiration. History drew me to the period. It's a fascinating time.
SM: Just being on set--stuck in that field--must have been a surreal experience. Were there ever times when you started to doubt you'd bring it all together?
BW: No. Not really. It was a pretty good experience. I tend to be pretty happy when I'm shooting.
SM: In the last few years black and white films have experience quite a renaissance; films like The White Ribbon, Nebraska, Frances Ha, Blancanieves, and Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, have embraced this aesthetic. Could you share some insight on why you think filmmakers are being drawn to this?
BW: For me Black and White makes you look at faces and texture. It funnels the amount of information the viewer receives. I can't speak for other film makers.
SM: The soundscape and music in the film are stunning and pretty much a character in their own right. Although this is a period film, the music is decidedly anachronistic, but it really enhances the films' otherworldliness. Did you play a large part in this process or was it all the invention of the composer?
BW: I play a large part in the music. I worked closely with Jim Williams on this score. I'm not a musician though. We talk about the score a lot then he demos it. I get the demos as stems then I make a rough mix of what I like from the stems. The score is then created from that.
SM: So far, each of your films has been wildly different than the last and often gives the audience an unexpected experience (for example, Sightseers starts off as a quirky British road comedy and evolves in to Natural Born Killers with sweaters). Has this been a conscious decision?
BW: Making an experience is a conscious decision. Every frame of a film is deliberated on. You see the films as different from each other. I see them as too similar to each other. I'm trying not to make the same film again and again. But it's hard.
We here at the Vanguard Blog are some of Wheatley's biggest fans and we're confident that whatever he does next will be mind-alteringly awesome. We just hope it's out in time for the Festival next year so we can have our third annual 5 Quesetions with Ben Wheatley. In the meantime, don't forget to check out A Field in England.
A FIELD IN ENGLAND Screening Times:
- Friday, Sept 13, 9:00 PM RYERSON THEATRE
- Saturday, Sept 14, 9:00PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 3