Annihilation - from Ex Machina writer/director Alex Garland


Nov 29, 2009
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Paramount Taps Alex Garland to Direct Annihilation

Source: Variety
October 31, 2014

With extremely positive buzz following yesterday's trailer launch for sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, Variety is reporting that Paramount has tapped that film's writer/director Alex Garland to adapt the script and direct the futuristic gothic horror film Annihilation, the first part of novelist Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy.

The studio and producer Scott Rudin (also a producer on Ex Machina) acquired movie rights to the 2014 trilogy last year, with the first book "Annihilation" published in March, followed by "Authority" in May and "Acceptance" in September.

The logline for Annihilation focuses on "a biologist seeking answers about her husband's disappearance," but here's a more complete synopsis of the book:

A team of four (a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a surveyor) set out into a place known as Area X. The area is abandoned and cut off from the rest of civilization. They are the 12th expedition. The other expeditions have been fraught with disappearances, suicides, aggressive cancers, and mental trauma.

This is somewhat familiar territory for Garland, whose 1996 novel "The Beach" (as well as the film of the same name) centered on an isolated island frought with danger. Garland, whose writing credits include 28 Days Later, Dredd and Sunshine, made his directorial debut on Ex Machina, which stars Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander, with A24 releasing it on April 10, 2015.
Natalie Portman Circles ‘Ex Machina’ Director’s Next Sci-Fi Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

“Ex Machina” director Alex Garland looks to have found the star of his next sci-fi film, “Annihilation.”
Sources tell Variety that Natalie Portman is in early talks to star in the adaptation of the Jeff VanderMeer novel for Garland and Paramount Pictures. Scott Rudin is producing.
Garland will write and direct the pic that follows a biologist who signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply. Paramount had no comment.
The deal is dependent on production starting no sooner than the beginning of 2016, but sources say it seems like the two sides will settle on a start date soon.
Given the critical and commercial success of “Ex Machina,” top talent are determined to find a way to work with Garland. Sources add that the role of Portman’s co-star is being chased by everyone from Julianne Moore to Tilda Swinton, but the studio won’t begin considering anyone until Portman’s deal is worked out.

After Ex Machina, I love the idea of a female-driven sci-fi flick from Garland. :up:
BTW, I'm reading the first book and wow, it's really, really good!
Some new info:

Yesterday, we were lucky enough to talk to Garland on the phone, because the DVD/Blu-ray of Ex Machina comes out today. And Garland told us he’s “deep into” getting Annihilation set up. “That’s my day job at the moment,” he said.

“Early on this week, I was on a location recce,” said Garland, using the British slang for “reconnaissance,” or “scouting.” “We’re getting to the point where you’re thinking about the practicalities. If we manage to get that going, it would be shooting in, I think, April of next year. So we’d go in to prep in January and shoot in April.”

But how can Garland possibly film the strange landscape of Area X? This is a transitional landscape, a lush wilderness full of strange creatures, like dolphins with human eyes. It’s been reshaped by some kind of alien influence, and a team of explorers sent by the organization known as the Southern Reach go in to investigate.

“What I’d say is, that I’ve worked on different kinds of adaptations in the past,” said Garland. “One of them was called Never Let Me Go, which was based on a book by Kazuo Ishiguro. Relatively speaking, what that film did was it kind of held up a mirror to the book. It was a slightly distorting mirror, in some respects, but basically it’s holding up a mirror—a sort of movie mirror, I guess.”

The movie of Annihilation, by contrast, “is not doing that. This is not tightly adhering to the beats of the novel in the same way,” said Garland. “It’s a looser adaptation,” although “the basic precepts” are still there. “Let me put it this way: If you saw the film, you’d know what it was based on. I can say that. But that’s presumptuous of me—if I get to make the film, and you saw the film, and you’d read the book, you’d say, ‘This is based on Annihilation.’ So it’s not that loose.” But it’s not as close a copy as Never Let Me Go was, he added.

Also, can we get something like "from Alex Garland, writer/dierctor of Ex Machina" added to the thread title? It's easy to miss as is.
Thanks. :)

EDIT: Pitty this won't be filming 'til next year, I'm really looking forward to it.
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Alex Garland now has my support. I will go spend $20 on a ticket on any movie of his regardless of the quality of the marketing.
Alex Garland? Futuristic gothic horror? My reaction?

McDormand has the lead part in Martin McDonagh's new film which is also supposed to start filming early next year. Hopefully the schedules wouldn't conflict too much.
This continues to keep me incredibly interested. I cannot wait. I really hope McDormand does join.
Ex Machina is my favorite movie of the year so far.

Count me in.
Ok, just added all three books on my read list.
Loved Ex Machina and Dredd too... but he should write his films, that's a big part of his creative potential, so I wish he was doing his own stuff...
Loved 28 Days, Dredd, Ex Machina and most of Sunshine (ending was horrible).
Count me in :)
Loved Ex Machina and Dredd too... but he should write his films, that's a big part of his creative potential, so I wish he was doing his own stuff...

Do you mean he should write/direct exclusively original films?
This sounds great. I'm thinking on getting the book too.
The premise sounds Lovecraftian, and in lesser hands will be reduced to a jump-scare fest.
Do you mean he should write/direct exclusively original films?

I just think he should write story and screenplay, then direct it. :yay: It does not have to be totally original like Ex Mechina, it could be someone else's intellectual property like Dredd, but he should be involved in the production process right from the beginning, for he is very thoughtful guy who can manage the entire project to great results like we could have seen with Ex Machina. He just knows what's important for the story, for the characters, etc. He just has a clear vision of what needs to be in the film to make it work, not like Ridley Scott shooting with just a half-baked script and then cutting Prometheus in editing room to the point it's somewhat silly mess. Give Garland creative freedom, I loved how minimalistic Ex Machina was, yet full of interesting things to think about and full of interesting interactions between characters, etc. Treat him like Nolan, let him write the film, shoot the film and then we can enjoy the spectacle, which you can be assured, will be intelligent, thought provoking and top notch over-all. After Ex Machina he seems to me to be one of few creative people in hollywood, who prioritize quality over quantity and are willing to work on something until it's really done and well polished.
Ha, I remember her from her Veronica Mars days, nice to see her career taking off like this. She's great, imo. :up:

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