Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

How to make a british blockbuster…on a budget

ben wheatley.jpg

When it comes to making great films for no money, Ben Wheatley is your man. His first, the critically adored Down Terrace, was made for just £6,000, while 2011’s Kill List and last year’s blood-splattered Sightseers cost less than Tom Cruise’s trailer. Probably. That’s why we asked him how to create that difficult first blockbuster.

Use your critical cache

“Because Down Terrace was a film we self-funded and it did well critically, we could show we knew what we were doing. When we pitched Kill List, we just showed them that film. People trusted us to deliver.”

Seek unknown stars

“Cutting corners is negative. Work to your budget: that dictates the people you can work with, but it also means that you can work with whoever you like, because there’s very little financial pressure. Being a star isn’t a talent thing. There are brilliant actors all over the place.”

Know your fx

“If I want special effects in a film, I know exactly how much it’s going to cost before I start shooting. Some directors say, ‘I want this – just make it happen,’ and then things get expensive. It’s also worth looking into the cost of things such as music rights. There’s free stuff out there. In Kill List, we could only afford one track – It Could Have Been Better by Joan Armatrading – so we just used public domain music, which was mostly old blues stuff because it was free.”

Keep it handheld

“Shoot a film like a documentary. Use available light, don’t think about tracking, dollies and cranes and all that sh*t. In Sightseers and Kill List, everything’s handheld, which means you work a lot faster and you’re just working with the actors. The thing audiences take away is the performance.”

Sightseers is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 25 March

(Image: Rex Features)


creepy hero.jpg

The 25 creepiest movie posters ever


Bad reviews for good movies


50 Best Final Lines In Movies



Your first look at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Why can't it be May already?

19 Oct 2016

Oasis rejected Trainspotting for this hilarious reason

You've gotta roll(ing stock) with it

19 Oct 2016

Pixar animators spent 5 years making this dark cowboy film

This is why they're the best

18 Oct 2016

Leonardo DiCaprio is producing a new Captain Planet movie

There's a headline we didn't expect to write

18 Oct 2016

QUIZ: Can you match these famous opening lines to the films?

Being attentive in the cinema is about to pay off

17 Oct 2016

Watch Ben Affleck's slick new thriller The Accountant for FREE

We, dear reader, are bringing you his latest blockbuster for absolutely nothing

14 Oct 2016

Stop everything, the New Star Wars: Rogue One trailer is here

Guess who's back

13 Oct 2016

The 25 scariest movies on Netflix right now

11 Oct 2016

Guy Ritchie set to direct Disney's live action Aladdin

It's a whole new world, you muppet

by Tom Fordy
11 Oct 2016

'I would miss it terribly' Daniel Craig backtracks on Bond decision

Make your mind up, mate

by Tom Fordy
10 Oct 2016