Ben Wheatley

Ben Wheatley (born May 1972)[1][2] is an English filmmaker and screenwriter. Beginning his career in advertising, Wheatley first gained recognition and acclaim for his commercials and short films, before transitioning into feature films and television programmes. He is best known for his work in the thriller and horror genres, with his films frequently incorporating heavy elements of black comedy and satire. His best-known works include the psychological horror films Kill List and A Field in England, the J. G. Ballard adaptation High-Rise, and the action comedy Free Fire.

Ben Wheatley
Wheatley in 2012
Born1972 (age 4647)
Billericay, Essex, England, U.K.
ResidenceBrighton, England, U.K.
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, film editor, film producer, animator, actor
Notable work
Kill List
A Field in England
Spouse(s)Amy Jump

Wheatley has received numerous accolades for his work, including an Evening Standard British Film Award, five British Independent Film Award nominations, and numerous awards and honours from film festivals including South by Southwest, Karlovy Vary International, Mar del Plata International, Raindance, Toronto International, and Cannes Film Festival.

Early life

Wheatley was born in Billericay, Essex. He went to Haverstock School in North London and it was here during the sixth form that he met Amy Jump, who is now his wife and co-founder of the "Mr and Mrs Wheatley" blog.[3] The couple have a son[4] and live in Brighton.[5]


Initially a short film maker and animator, Wheatley moved his work to the internet. His clip "cunning stunt" which shows his friend Rob Hill jumping over a car has had over 10 million views. The hundred or so short animations and games found on the "Mr and Mrs Wheatley" site were noticed by large media companies and Wheatley's work expanded into mainstream media.

In 2006 Wheatley won a "Lion" award at Cannes advertising festival for directing the AMBX viral, with The Viral Factory.[6] In July 2006 he directed live-action sections of the TV series Modern Toss, ("i live ere", "Alan", "Drive by abuser", "Customer services", "Accident and emergency", "Citizens advice", "Illegal alphabet"), which was aired on Channel 4. Wheatley has also written and created clips for BBC Two's Time Trumpet and has appeared in and directed sketches for BBC Three's Comedy Shuffle.[7] Between 2007 and 2009 Wheatley directed series 2 of Modern Toss and Ideal series 5 and 6. In 2008, Wheatley co-created and directed the sketch series The Wrong Door for BBC Three.

In May 2009 he directed the feature film Down Terrace in eight days; it won the Next Wave prize at Fantastic Fest in Austin and Best UK Feature at Raindance in London.[8][9] In 2010 Wheatley completed his second feature, Kill List for Warp X.[10][11] The film received critical acclaim and won Michael Smiley a British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor. The movie holds a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a critic consensus describing the film as "an expertly executed slow-burn crime thriller that thrives on tension before morphing into visceral horror."[12]

Wheatley's third film was the black comedy Sightseers, released in the UK in November 2012. It was written by its stars, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, with additional material by Amy Jump, and was chosen for the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.[13][14] Wheatley's fourth film, A Field in England was financed through the Film4 talent and ideas hub, Film4.0. It was followed in 2016 by High Rise, an adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel of the same name. He has also directed advertisements for Blink Productions and Moxie.

A sci-fi TV series, Silk Road, written and directed by Wheatley, has been announced. It is said to be "in the vein of the Patrick McGoohan TV series The Prisoner," and will be screened on HBO.[15] In 2014, Wheatley directed the first two episodes of the eighth series of Doctor Who, a show he has been a fan of since childhood.[16]

Wheatley wrote and directed Free Fire starring an ensemble cast including Cilian Murphy, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer and Sharlto Copley. His film Happy New Year, Colin Burstead was made for the BBC 2018 Christmas schedule but will be available on the Iplayer for the entirety of 2019.[17]

In November 2018, Wheatley was announced as the director of a new adaption of Daphne du Maurier's gothic romance novel Rebecca, a Working Title Films production to be released on Netflix. The film will star Lily James, Armie Hammer, and Kristin Scott Thomas.[18][19]



Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Writer Producer Editor
2009 Down Terrace Yes Yes Yes Yes Fantastic Fest Next Award for Best Film
Raindance Jury Prize for Best UK Feature
Nominated- Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Screenplay
2011 Kill List Yes Yes Yes Nominated- British Independent Film Award for Best Director
Nominated- British Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated- BiFan Best of Bucheon
Nominated- Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated- Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated- SXSW Audience Award for Midnight Feature
2012 Sightseers Yes Yes Evening Standard Peter Sellers Award for Comedy
BiFan Best of Bucheon
Nominated- British Independent Film Award for Best Director
Nominated- Mar del Plata International Award for Best Film
Nominated- Sitges Maria Award for Best Motion Picture
Nominated- Variety Piazza Grande Award
The ABCs of Death Yes Yes Segment: U Is for Unearthed

Nominated- Golden Chicago Hugo (After Dark Competition)

2013 A Field in England Yes Yes Karlovy Vary Special Prize of the Jury
Nominated- Crystal Globe
Nominated- Dublin Film Critics' Circle Award for Best Director
Nominated- Sitges Maria Award for Best Motion Picture
2015 High-Rise Yes Yes TIFF Platform Prize
2016 Free Fire Yes Yes Yes TIFF People's Choice Award
Nominated- British Independent Film Award for Best Director
Nominated- Mar del Plata International Award for Best Film
Nominated- Rotterdam MovieZone Award
Nominated- Golden San Sebastián Seashell
2018 Happy New Year, Colin Burstead Yes Yes Yes Nominated- British Independent Film Award for Best Editing
Nominated- BFI London Best Film Award
2021 Untitled Tomb Raider sequel[20] Yes Pre-production
TBA Rebecca Yes Post-production

Executive Producer


Year Title
Director Writer Notes
2006 Time Trumpet No Yes 4 episodes
2008 Modern Toss Yes No 4 episodes
The Wrong Door Yes Yes 6 episodes
2009 Steve Coogan: The Inside Story Yes No Television special
Co-directed with Dave Walker
2009–2010 Ideal Yes No 14 episodes
2014 Doctor Who Yes No 2 episodes
2018–2019 Strange Angel Yes No 3 episodes

Music videos

Recurring collaborators

ActorDown TerraceKill ListSightseersThe ABCs of DeathA Field in EnglandHigh-RiseFree FireHappy New Year, Colin Burstead Rebecca Total
Alice Lowe NN 2
Armie Hammer N N 2
Eileen Davies NN 2
Enzo Cilenti NN 2
Gareth Tunley NN 2
Gemma Lise Thornton NN 2
Julia Deakin NN 2
Kali Peacock NN 2
Keeley Hawes N N 2
Kenneth Hadley NN 2
Mark Kempner NN 2
Michael Smiley NNNNN 5
Neil Maskell NNN 3
Peter Ferdinando NNN 3
Reece Shearsmith NN 2
Richard Glover NNN 3
Robert Hill NN 2
Robin Hill NN 2
Sam Riley NN N 3
Sara Dee NNNNNN 6
Simon Smith NN 2
Steve Oram NN 2
Tony Way NNN 2

Peter Ferdinando and Tony Way also appeared in the Wheatley directed episode of Doctor Who entitled "Deep Breath", with Michael Smiley appearing in the following Wheatley directed episode "Into the Dalek".

CrewDown TerraceKill ListSightseersA Field in EnglandHigh-RiseFree FireHappy New Year, Colin Burstead Rebecca Total
Amy Jump NNNNN 5
Andrew Starke NNNNNN 6
Claire Jones NNN 3
Jim Williams NNNN 4
Laurie Rose NNNNNNN N 8
Robin Hill NNN 3
Martin Pavey N N N N N N N 7


  1. "Benjamin WHEATLEY - Personal Appointments (Free information from Companies House)".
  2. Ben Child (29 August 2013). "Ben Wheatley to direct adaptation of JG Ballard's High Rise". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  3. MrandMrsWheatley
  4. "A Field in England director Ben Wheatley on the key films in his life". The Dissolve. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  5. "Ben Wheatley Update". Film City Brighton & Hove. Archived from the original on 29 May 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  6. AMBX Archived 28 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. Time Trumpet Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Now Toronto 'Q&A'
  9. Film4 Compiling ‘The Kill List’ Archived 9 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  10. "Devil Worshippers Beware! You May Be Part of The Kill List". Dread Central. 13 September 2012.
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 June 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. "Kill List". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  13. Leffler, Rebecca. "Cannes 2012: Michel Gondry's 'The We & The I' to Open Director's Fortnight". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  14. "2012 Selection". Directors' Fortnight. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  15. Hatfull, Jonathan (19 March 2013). "SIGHTSEERS DIRECTOR BEN WHEATLEY GETS HBO TV SERIES". Silk Road for HBO.
  16. Wiseman, Andreas (14 October 2013). "Ben Wheatley to direct Doctor Who". ScreenDaily. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  17. "Ben Wheatley's 'Happy New Year, Colin Burstead' Set for BBC Two Christmas Slot in UK After London Film Fest Debut". 8 September 2018.
  18. Kroll, Justin (14 November 2018). "Lily James, Armie Hammer to Star in Daphne du Maurier Adaptation 'Rebecca'". Variety. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  19. "Kristin Scott Thomas Joins Ben Wheatley's 'Rebecca' Adaptation for Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  20. Fleming Jr, Mike (4 September 2019). "Ben Wheatley Set To Direct Alicia Vikander In 'Tomb Raider' Sequel; MGM Sets Release Date". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
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