Film

Ben Wheatley: "Martin Scorsese holds the big bat..."

Free Fire has seven Executive Producers – including Martin Scorsese – we ask director Ben Wheatley what they all do

Free Fire has blasted into cinemas. The story of an arms deal gone awry is British director Ben Wheatley’s biggest film so far and is making Hollywood take notice. But one figure in Hollywood was already paying attention. Legendary director Martin Scorsese serves as Executive Producer on the film… but what does an Executive Producer actually do?

“Execs can do lots of different things,” says Ben Wheatley. “They can be counsel, give suppot or come in and say, ‘Oh I don’t know about this’, and make changes.

He’s the greatest living film-maker so contradicting what he says is a difficult conversation

“It’s easier to define what other producers do,” Wheatley continues. “Line Producers are what you would imagine a producer is – they sort out the scheduling, say ‘I’m going to get this cameraman’ and ‘I’m going to build this set’. Then theres the Producer – they liaise with the Line Producer but their job is getting the financing together. So they’ll have to smoke a big cigar in Cannes and talk to some millionaire.

“Execs are sometimes from the financier’s side, or they’ll be from Film4 and the BFI, so they kind of oversee the project, working with the producers and the director to make sure it’s all working.

“It’s a similar thing with Scorsese, but he holds the big bat – he was the backstop for creative stuff.

“At the end of the day he’s the greatest living film-maker so contradicting what he says is a difficult conversation.

“Just to get to meet him was enough for me.”

Free Fire is out now in cinemas

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