'I had to go outside and vomit': Tom Hiddleston on the making of High-Rise
An ambitious new film adaptation starring Tom Hiddleston brings JG Ballard’s dystopian novel High-Rise to unsettling, darkly humorous life. David Gritten goes behind the scenes
Suave and pencil-slim in a silvery-grey suit, Tom Hiddleston strolls languidly across the lawn of a picturesque garden, navigating between flower beds until he reaches a thatched barn at its very edge and pushes open the door. On this sunny August day, it is a glorious setting.
For the cameras tracking his progress, Hiddleston walks the walk four more times. It feels like a lovely, low-key, rather traditional scene – but in the completed High-Rise, a big-screen adaptation of JG Ballard’s 1975 novel, this location will be seen in an utterly different context.
Bangor Castle Walled Garden, 12 miles from Belfast and dating from the 1840s, is at ground level. But in High-Rise, thanks to digital effects, it appears 40 storeys up: an amazing rooftop garden crowning the cool, stylish London apartment block of the film’s title. In Ballard’s novel, set ‘five minutes in the future’, the high-rise is more than just a block of flats. Ben Wheatley, the film’s British director, notes, ‘It’s a metaphor. It’s a building; it’s also a man or a woman. It’s a country; it’s the world. It works on all those different levels.’