NEON today announced that Ben Wheatley (Rebecca, Free Fire, High-Rise) has written and directed the horror film In the Earth, starring Joel Fry (Yesterday, Game of Thrones), Ellora Torchia (The Split, Midsommar), Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake), and BAFTA Award winner Reece Shearsmith (Inside No. 9, Psychoville).
Andy Starke produced for Wheatley and Starke’s Rook Films alongside Tom Quinn and Jeff Deutchman who executive produced on behalf of NEON.
In Ben Wheatley’s rising career of studio tentpole franchises like The Meg 2, In the Earth marks a return to his genre roots akin to his groundbreaking Kill List. The film is also part of a growing production and development slate at the Academy Award-winning studio NEON.
Protagonist will launch foreign sales for In the Earth at next week’s AFM, where they will be sharing exclusive footage with buyers. NEON has scheduled a 2021 theatrical launch in the US.
In the film, as the world searches for a cure to a disastrous virus, a scientist and park scout venture deep in the forest for a routine equipment run.
Through the night, their journey becomes a terrifying voyage through the heart of darkness, the forest coming to life around them.
Wheatley is an award-winning British filmmaker and screenwriter who first gained acclaim for his commercials and short films. He is best known for his work in the thriller and horror genres, including the psychological horror films Kill List, Sightseers, Down Terrace, the J. G. Ballard adaptation High-Rise, and the action comedy Free Fire for A24.
He most recently directed Rebecca for Netflix, starring Lily James and Armie Hammer, and will next be directing The Meg 2 for Warner Bros.
Fry most recently starred in Netflix’s Love Wedding Repeat alongside Sam Claflin, Olivia Munn and Freida Pinto. He will next be seen in Disney’s Cruella starring Emma Stone. Torchia starred in Ari Aster’s Midsommar and AMC’s The Split.
Squires won Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards for her performance in I, Daniel Blake. Shearsmith has won multiple awards for the British psychological horror-thriller Psychoville and has previously collaborated with Wheatley in High-Rise and A Field in England.
NEON continues its foray into development and production on the heels of their Best Picture win for Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, a film they boarded at script stage, as well as Alex Gibney’s Totally Under Control, which was recently released ahead of the Presidential election.
NEON has several projects at various stages of development and production, including the previously-announced Pablo Larrain’s Spencer, Julia Ducournau’s Titane, and The Painter and the Thief narrative remake.
Protagonist’s slate includes Brady Corbet’s Brutalist; Official Competition by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat; Ben Sharrock’s BFI London Film Festival, TIFF, San Sebastian and Zurich selection Limbo; Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir II; Edward Hall’s Blithe Spirit; Alpha Gang by David and Nathan Zellner; and SXSW Grand Jury prize winner Freshman Year.