'Ex Machina' Director Says His Next Movie Is Even Crazier Than 'Dredd' and '28 Days Later'

'Ex Machina' Director Says His Next Movie Is Even Crazier Than 'Dredd' and '28 Days Later'

Jul 13, 2015

Alex Garland is a beast when it comes to modern science fiction, and the great thing about his filmography is that no two of his movies are quite the same. The restart-the-sun spaceship thriller Sunshine is a much grander scale than the meditative clone drama Never Let Me Go, which is wildly different from the angry rage virus that is 28 Days Later, which is far more action-packed than his most recent sci-fi outing, the terrific Ex Machina, but also isn't anywhere near as weird and violent as Dredd.

If you were afraid Garland's next movie would see him leaving the sci-fi genre, we're happy to report there is nothing to fear. He's sticking around science fiction for the foreseeable future.

His next project is an adaptation of a recently published book called Annihilation, and when we spoke with him for this week's Ex Machina Blu-ray release, he explained which side of the sci-fi spectrum it was falling on.

Movies.com: In our last interview you said you like to alternate between adrenaline-ized movies like 28 Days Later and reflective movies like Never Let Me Go. So which mode are you in next?

Garland: The one I'm working on now is definitely in the adrenaline-ized mode. The film I'm trying to make at the moment is based on a novel by Jeff VanderMeer and it's called Annihilation. It's in the sort of darker, stranger, propulsive space. It's more like Dredd and 28 Days LaterNever Let Me Go and Ex Machina basically are reflective, quiet, talky movies, and this has some of the same sort of propulsion, I'd say, of 28 Days and some of the hallucinogenic aspects of Dredd, but they're way more ramped up. Way, way more ramped up.

So how does something get more amped up than the hyperviolence of Dredd's hallucinogenic sequences? All we need to do is look at the plot synopsis for Annihilation to see that it's going to be a big, weird story that is once again not quite like anything Garland has made to date.

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.

The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one anotioner, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers--they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding--but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

As of right now, Annihilation is still getting itself off the ground, but assuming all goes as planned (Natalie Portman was attached to it earlier this year), Garland told us they'll start filming in April of 2016.


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