Alex Garland

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Alex Garland
Garland in 2024
Born
Alexander Medawar Garland

(1970-05-26) 26 May 1970 (age 53)
London, England
Occupations
  • Author
  • screenwriter
  • director
Years active1996–present
SpousePaloma Baeza
Children2
RelativesNicholas Garland (father)
Peter Medawar (maternal grandfather)
Jean Medawar (maternal grandmother)

Alexander Medawar Garland (born 26 May 1970) is an English author, screenwriter, and director. He rose to prominence with his novel The Beach (1996). He subsequently received praise for writing the Danny Boyle films 28 Days Later (2002) and Sunshine (2007), as well as Never Let Me Go (2010) and Dredd (2012). In video games, he co-wrote Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010) and served as a story supervisor on DmC: Devil May Cry (2013).

Garland made his directorial debut when he wrote and directed the sci-fi thriller Ex Machina (2014). The film earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, and won him three British Independent Film Awards, including Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best British Independent Film. His second film, Annihilation (2018), an adaptation of the 2014 novel of the same name, was also a critical success. Garland went on to write, direct and executive produce the FX miniseries Devs (2020). This was followed by the horror thriller Men (2022) and dystopian Civil War (2024), both produced by A24.

Early life and education[edit]

Alexander Medawar Garland[1] was born in London on 26 May 1970,[2][3] the son of psychologist Caroline (née Medawar) and political cartoonist Nicholas Garland. He has a younger brother and two older paternal half-siblings. He is the maternal grandson of writer Jean Medawar and biologist Peter Medawar, the latter of whom was born in Brazil to an English mother and Lebanese father.[4]

Garland was educated at University College School in Hampstead, and later graduated from the University of Manchester with an art history degree.[5][6]

Career[edit]

Novels[edit]

Garland's first novel, The Beach, was published in 1996. Based upon his travels across Europe and Thailand, it tells the story of a young English backpacker who discovers an unspoiled seashore occupied by a community of like-minded backpackers. The novel is noted for its references to drug culture, sequences of hallucinations, and unique depictions of excess and utopia. The Beach was initially met with positive reviews, and with a spreading word of mouth response, the novel grew in popularity; it led some critics to regard Garland a key voice of Generation X.[7] He would later speak of his discomfort with the fame The Beach brought him.[5] The Beach has been translated into 25 different languages[8] and sold close to 700,000 copies by the start of 1999.[9] It was developed into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. In 2003, the novel was Ranked 103 in BBC's The Big Read poll.[10]

Garland's The Tesseract (1998) is a non-linear narrative with several interwoven characters, set in Manila, Philippines. The novel is characterized by a post-modernist narrative style and structure. It explores several themes such as love and violence through each character's circumstance and context of surroundings as well as seemingly inconsequential actions and the repercussions of those actions on other characters. The Tesseract did not enjoy the critical or commercial success of The Beach, but it too has a film adaptation.

Throughout his career and work, Garland has expressed his love of travel (particularly backpacking) and his love of Manila, much of which influenced his work.[8]

Film[edit]

In 2002, Garland wrote the screenplay for Danny Boyle's film 28 Days Later, starring Cillian Murphy.[11] He has said that the script was influenced by 1970s zombie films and English science fiction like The Day of the Triffids.[12] Video games such as the Resident Evil series also served as an influence for 28 Days Later, with Garland crediting the first game for revitalizing the zombie genre.[13] Inspiration for the "Rage" virus came from real-world infections such as Ebola and filoviruses.[12] He won a Best Screenplay honor at the 2004 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards for his script of the film.

In 2005, Garland wrote a screenplay for a film adaptation of Halo.[14] D. B. Weiss and Josh Olson rewrote this during 2006 for a 2008 release,[15][16] although the film was later canceled.[16] In 2007, he wrote the screenplay for the film Sunshine, which was his second screenplay to be directed by Danny Boyle and to star Cillian Murphy. Garland served as an executive producer on 28 Weeks Later, the sequel of 28 Days Later. He wrote the screenplay for the 2010 film Never Let Me Go, based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. He also wrote the script for Dredd, an adaptation of the Judge Dredd comic book series from 2000 AD. In 2018, Karl Urban, who played the eponymous role in the film, stated that it was Garland who deserved credit for also directing Dredd.[17]

Garland made his directorial debut with Ex Machina, a 2014 feature film based on his own story and screenplay, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac. The film won a Jury Prize at the 2015 Gerardmer Film Festival, and earned Garland a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Garland's second film, Annihilation (2018), was based on Jeff VanderMeer's 2014 science fiction novel of the same name. Garland has described it as "an adaptation [that] was a memory of the book," rather than book-referenced screenwriting, to capture the "dream like nature" and tone of his reading experience.[18][19][20] Production began in 2016,[21] and the film was released in February 2018.[22]

In January 2021, Garland was hired to direct his third film, Men, starring Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear.[23] The film follows a young woman who goes on a solo vacation to the English countryside after the death of her ex-husband.[24] Released in May 2022, it received generally positive reviews, though its narrative approach received some criticism. However, critic Jonathan Rosenbaum placed Men on his Best Films of 2022 list.[25]

In April 2022, it was announced that Garland was reteaming with A24 for his fourth feature, Civil War, an action epic starring Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, and previous collaborators Stephen McKinley Henderson and Cailee Spaeny.[26] The film was released on 12 April 2024.

Garland will next reunite with Boyle to write 28 Years Later, the long-gestating sequel to 28 Days Later, which is intended to launch a new trilogy of zombie films. Murphy will serve as an executive producer. The film is set to be released by Sony.[27]

In February 2024, it was revealed that Charles Melton was in talks to star in Garland's upcoming untitled war film with A24. This project marks the second collaboration between Garland and Ray Mendoza, who served as the military supervisor for Civil War. The pair wrote and will co-direct the film.[28] The following month, Joseph Quinn, D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Kit Connor, Cosmo Jarvis, Will Poulter and Finn Bennett joined the ensemble cast, and the film was revealed to be titled Warfare.[29] The same month, Garland stated that he would not direct any films in the "foreseeable future" after the release of Civil War and that his co-directorial work on Warfare was "more of a supporting character" to Mendoza's.[30]

Television[edit]

Garland wrote, served as executive producer, and directed the eight-episode miniseries Devs, about the "mysterious ongoings at a tech company", for FX; the series was greenlit in August 2018, and premiered 5 March 2020 on FX on Hulu.[31] It stars Ex Machina and Annihilation actress Sonoya Mizuno, alongside Nick Offerman, Jin Ha, Zach Grenier, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Cailee Spaeny, and Alison Pill.[31] Spaeny, who did not audition for the role as Garland had wanted her specifically for it, stated that Devs was short for Development, and that the series would explore the idea of the multiverse.[32]

Video games[edit]

Garland and Tameem Antoniades co-wrote the video game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. They won a 2011 award from the Writer's Guild of Great Britain. Garland also served as a story supervisor on the game DmC: Devil May Cry in 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Garland is married to English-Mexican actress Paloma Baeza, with whom he has a son and a daughter.[5]

Garland has described himself as an atheist.[33]

Bibliography[edit]

Collaborators[edit]

Since he made his directorial debut, Garland has worked with several actors and crew members multiple times.

Collaborator Ex Machina Annihilation Devs Men Civil War Total
Geoff Barrow
Composer
YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY 5
Michelle Day
Set decorator
YesY YesY YesY YesY 4
Mark Digby
Production designer
YesY YesY YesY YesY 4
Karl Glusman
Actor
YesY YesY 2
Jin Ha
Actor
YesY YesY 2
Rob Hardy
Cinematographer
YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY 5
Oscar Isaac
Actor
YesY YesY 2
Andrew Macdonald
Producer
YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY 5
Francine Maisler
Casting director
YesY YesY YesY 3
Stephen McKinley Henderson
Actor
YesY YesY 2
Sonoya Mizuno
Actor
YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY 5
Nick Offerman
Actor
YesY YesY 2
Allon Reich
Producer
YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY 5
Jake Roberts
Editor
YesY YesY YesY 3
Ben Salisbury
Composer
YesY YesY YesY YesY YesY 5
Cailee Spaeny
Actor
YesY YesY 2

Filmography[edit]

Feature films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
2002 28 Days Later No Yes No
2007 Sunshine No Yes No
28 Weeks Later No Uncredited[a] Executive
2010 Never Let Me Go No Yes Executive
2012 Dredd Uncredited[b] Yes Yes
2014 Ex Machina Yes Yes No
2018 Annihilation Yes Yes No
2022 Men Yes Yes No
2024 Civil War Yes Yes No
2025 28 Years Later No Yes Yes Filming

Executive producer

Television[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Executive
Producer
Notes
2020 Devs Yes Yes Yes Also creator

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
2010 Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Co-writer
2013 DmC: Devil May Cry Story supervisor

Critical reception[edit]

Title Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Ex Machina 92% (284 ratings)[37] 78 (42 reviews)[38]
Annihilation 88% (327 ratings)[39] 79 (51 reviews)[40]
Devs 82% (90 ratings)[41] 71 (32 reviews)[42]
Men 69% (255 ratings)[43] 65 (55 reviews)[44]
Civil War 82% (280 ratings)[45] 75 (60 reviews)[46]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Film Award Category Result
2002 28 Days Later Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Screenplay Nominated
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form Nominated
Saturn Award Best Writing Nominated
2010 Never Let Me Go British Independent Film Awards Best Screenplay Nominated
Evening Standard British Film Awards Best Screenplay Nominated
Saturn Award Best Writing Nominated
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Writers' Guild of Great Britain Best Continuing Drama Won
2015 Ex Machina Academy Awards Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Writing, Original Screenplay Nominated
Austin Film Critics Association Best Original Screenplay Nominated
AACTA International Awards Best Screenplay Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best New Filmmaker Nominated
British Independent Film Awards Best British Independent Film Won
Best Director Won
Best Screenplay Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Screenplay Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Most Promising Filmmaker Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directing – First-Time Feature Film Won
European Film Awards Best European Screenwriter Nominated
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards Best Screenplay Nominated
Gérardmer Film Festival Jury Prize Won
Silver Scream Award Won
London Critics Circle Film Awards Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Original Screenplay Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Original Screenplay Nominated
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards Best First Feature Won
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards Best Director Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Director Nominated
Best Writing Nominated

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rewrites.[34]
  2. ^ While Pete Travis was credited as the director, it was Garland who actually completed the film.[35][36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hume, Lucy, ed. (2017). "Garland, Nicholas Withycombe [entry]". People of Today 2017. Debrett's. p. 2,365. ISBN 9781999767037.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Alex Garland". British Council. n.d. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  3. ^ Lovece, Frank (20 February 2018). "Unnatural Resource: Alex Garland and Natalie Portman probe the mysteries of 'Annihilation'". Film Journal International. Archived from the original on 21 February 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2018. Q. You were born in London, May 26, 1970? Correct? A. Yep, that's right. So I'm told.
  4. ^ Bhattacharji, Alex (15 February 2018). "The Visionary Director of 'Ex Machina' Addresses the Controversy Surrounding His New Film". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 27 July 2020. (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b c Lewis, Tim (11 January 2015). "Alex Garland on Ex Machina: 'I feel more attached to this film than to anything before'". The Guardian.
  6. ^ 'Annihilation' director Alex Garland chats with CNET about the upcoming film (YouTube). CNET. 8 February 2018. Event occurs at 14;40. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  7. ^ Garland, Alex; Page, Michael (1 February 2000). The Beach. Brilliance Corp. ASIN 1567403549 – via Amazon.
  8. ^ a b Garland, Alex. "Hip author Alex Garland talks about The Beach". Gluckman.com. Interviewed by Ron Gluckman. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  9. ^ Stewart, Rod (7 January 2000). "Alex Hamilton's paperback fastsellers of 1999". The Bookseller. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  10. ^ "The Big Read - Top 200 Books". BBC. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  11. ^ Scott, A. O. (27 June 2003). "Film Review; Spared by a Virus But Not by Mankind". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  12. ^ a b Watson, Grant (6 November 2014). "'Something in the blood' | 28 Days Later... (2002)". Fiction Machine. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  13. ^ Garland, Alex (10 April 2015). "INTERVIEW: Director Alex Garland on Ex Machina". HuffPost. Interviewed by Zaki Hasan. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  14. ^ Fritz, Ben; Brodesser, Claude (3 February 2005). "Halo, Hollywood, Microsoft readies video game for first pic". Variety. Archived from the original on 5 April 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  15. ^ Miller, Ross (14 July 2006). "DB Weiss takes on Halo script". Engadget. Archived from the original on 22 September 2020. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  16. ^ a b Fritz, Ben (31 October 2006). "No home for 'Halo' pic". Variety. Archived from the original on 17 August 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  17. ^ Urban in Shirey, Paul (7 March 2018). "EXC: Karl Urban Says Alex Garland Directed Dredd & Updates on Reprising Role". JoBlo.com. Archived from the original on 7 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018. A huge part of the success of 'Dredd' is in fact due to Alex Garland and what a lot of people don't realize is that Alex Garland actually directed that movie. ... I just hope when people think of Alex Garland's filmography that 'Dredd' is the first film that he made before Ex Machina.
  18. ^ "'Annihilation' director Alex Garland chats with CNET about the upcoming film". CNET. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018 – via YouTube. @ 32m15s-33m30s
  19. ^ "ANNIHILATION (2018) - Alex Garland Behind the Scenes Interview - The Media Hub this week". The Media Hub. 10 February 2018. Archived from the original on 12 December 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2018 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ "Alex Garland 'Annihilation' - Talks at Google". Talks at Google. 22 February 2018. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 18 March 2018 – via YouTube. @ 03m30 - "In this [adaptation] instance it was like an adaptation of the atmosphere."
  21. ^ Kroll, Justin (29 April 2016). "'Containment' Star Joins Natalie Portman in 'Annihilation'". Variety. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  22. ^ Robinson, Joanna (30 March 2016). "Oscar Isaac Re-unites with Ex Machina Director to Join the All-Female Cast of Annihilation". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  23. ^ Men - Movie Reviews, retrieved 23 May 2022
  24. ^ Kroll, Justin (6 January 2021). "Alex Garland Sets Next Film at A24 With Jessie Buckley And Rory Kinnear To Star". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  25. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan (2 January 2023). "La Internacional Cinéfila Poll: Jonathan Rosenbaum: Best Films of 2022". Year-End Lists. Retrieved 30 September 2023.
  26. ^ Grobat, Matt (21 January 2022). "Alex Garland Reteams With A24 For Action Epic 'Civil War'; Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura & More Set To Star". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  27. ^ Grobat, Matt (31 January 2024). "Zombie Sequel 28 Years Later Lands at Sony (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 February 2024.
  28. ^ Kroll, Justin (6 February 2024). "Charles Melton in Talks to Join Ray Mendoza and Alex Garland's Untitled War Film at A24". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  29. ^ Cordero, Rosy (28 March 2024). "Kit Connor, Cosmo Jarvis, Will Poulter & Finn Bennett Round Out Lead Cast Of Ray Mendoza And Alex Garland's 'Warfare'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  30. ^ Kaloi, Stephanie (31 March 2024). "'Civil War' Director Alex Garland Says He's Done Directing". TheWrap. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  31. ^ a b "Alex Garland's Sci-Fi Murder-Mystery Series 'Devs' Greenlit at FX, With Nick Offerman and Sonoya Mizuno to Star". Indiewire. 3 August 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  32. ^ "Cailee Spaeny on What to Expect From Alex Garland's New Show, Devs". Indiewire. 26 July 2019. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  33. ^ "Books and Films That Inspired 'Ex Machina'". Esquire. 25 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2024.
  34. ^ Salisbury, Mark. "Home on the Rage". Fangoria. Vol. May 2007, no. 263. Starlog Group, Inc. pp. 31–34. ASIN B001QLDCPC.
  35. ^ "Karl Urban Says Alex Garland Actually Directed 'Dredd'". Collider. 7 March 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  36. ^ "Alex Garland Will Never Direct Another 'Dredd' Movie: 'It Was a Crude Experience'". IndieWire. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  37. ^ "Ex Machina (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  38. ^ "Ex Machina Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  39. ^ "Annihilation (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  40. ^ "Annihilation Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  41. ^ "Devs: Season 1 (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  42. ^ "Devs - TV Shows Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  43. ^ "Men (2022)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  44. ^ "Men Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  45. ^ "Civil War". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  46. ^ "Civil War". Metacritic. Retrieved 31 March 2024.

External links[edit]