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Brie Larson, Armie Hammer Premiere ’70s Gangster Movie ‘Free Fire’

Variety logo Variety 4/14/2017 Erin Nyren
© Provided by Variety

Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley and writer-director Ben Wheatley premiered their action-packed film “Free Fire” Thursday evening at the Arclight Hollywood cinema in Los Angeles.

The film, which features a closed-room scenario set in a warehouse in 1970s Boston, has received mixed reviews, as some are critical of the choice to keep the bullets flying for almost the entire ninety minutes of the film.

Many of the actors, however, felt that working with Wheatley in such a setting was a boon.

“One of the things that (Wheatley)’s extremely skilled at is creating a very well-planned space,” Copley said. “Knowing what’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen, but at the same time making you feel extremely free within that.”

Wheatley is coming off of “High-Rise,” a film about a microcosm of society going into a tailspin of barbarism, and is widely regarded as one of the most exciting directors working in the UK. This enthusiasm was noticeable among the cast as well.

“He’s an auteur, really,” Sam Riley, who plays Stevo, said. “You work with a guy (like him) and it’ll be his film at the end.”

Wheatley works in a writing partnership with his wife Amy Jump, and he said that working with Jump allowed the team to incorporate improvisation into the film to a wider extent, since she was on set rewriting as improvisation would happen.

“As we saw performances, for instance, Noah Taylor’s performance, we’d say, ‘God, we really love Noah Taylor, he doesn’t have enough lines in this film,’ so then we would develop it as we were shooting,” Wheatley said.

Hammer will be working with Wheatley again on his upcoming film “Freakshift,” which features a band of misfit cops working to hunt down nocturnal supernatural monsters.

“(Wheatley)’s an amazing filmmaker. I was really happy and excited when I was asked to come back,” he said. “I would honestly take a bullet for him.”

Larson was tight-lipped regarding any similarities between her roles in “Free Fire” and “Captain Marvel,” and said simply that she’s been preparing for “Captain Marvel” her entire life.

“Free Fire” opens in theaters April 21.

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