Back to IndieWire

Alex Garland Doesn’t Like the Third Act of ‘Apocalypse Now’ and 6 More Highlights from His Reddit AMA

Alex Garland Doesn't Like the Third Act of 'Apocalypse Now' and 6 More Highlights from His Reddit AMA

READ MORE: Why ‘Ex Machina’ Writer-Director Alex Garland Doesn’t Consider Himself a First-Time Filmmaker

To promote his directorial debut, “Ex Machina,” Alex Garland did a Reddit AMA yesterday offering advice to writers and revealing some of his inspirations. He also offered a few insights into the screenwriting process, including the fact that the most common, detrimental mistake he sees screenwriters make is overwriting. He noted that for him, adaptations are easier because someone has already done much of the heavy lifting, and that he was not the right guy to adapt “Halo” for Peter Jackson, a project he worked on in 2005. Garland also mentioned that the classic novel he’d most like to adapt would be “Heart of Darkness.” Hm, perhaps because, as he says in the AMA, he has a few issues with “Apocalypse Now?” Check out that and the other highlights below.

Don’t be afraid to not like the end of his movies, because there are some he doesn’t like either.

Someone asked what he would say to the people who disliked “Sunshine,” noting that those who do often cite the third act. Garland replied, “Honestly, I have no problem with people disliking it for the third act. These things are all so subjective. Also, don’t know if this is relevant, but… I don’t really like the Marlon Brando stuff in ‘Apocalypse Now,’ but it’s still one of my favorite movies. Sometimes the flaws are part of why you choose to really like a film.”

Is “The Walking Dead” is keeping him from “28 Months Later”?

A fan inquired about a potential sequel to “28 Days Later” and “28 Weeks Later,” to which Garland replied, “Actually I believe someone is working on a script right now. The main thing stopping us from making a movie was that we didn’t have an idea that felt any good, and anyway ‘The Walking Dead’ seemed to be doing a better job than we were likely to manage…”

Who was the rudest celebrity he’d ever encountered?

“Jonathan Ross once scared the shit out of me in central London by leaning on his car horn when I was on my bike. Thought I was about to get run over by a truck. So while he wasn’t rude, he was scary. Does that count?”

What made him nervous about “Never Let Me Go?” His friendship.

“Then main challenge was that the novelist, Kazuo Ishiguro, is a good friend of mine, and I really, really didn’t want to fuck it up. I overcame it by showing him the script. If he hadn’t liked it, I would have ditched it immediately.”

Where did the idea for “Ex Machina” come from?

“From reading about AI (artificial intelligence) and consciousness. Specifically, the story came to me while reading a book about consciousness and embodiment, written by Murray Shanahan, who is professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial in London. I was in pre-production on ‘Dredd’ at the time, and wrote it down very fast, then put it aside until ‘Dredd’ was cut and handed over.”

He was in “Wall-E”?

An inquirer confused Garland with actor Jeff Garlin, saying, “You were great as the space ship captain in ‘Wall-E.’ Is it true that there’s going to be a sequel?” Garland’s natural sense of humor showed through when he replied, “Thanks. I don’t know about the sequel. I’m not in the loop. They don’t answer my calls, or emails and pretend they have no idea who I am or what I’m talking about.”

He’s not worried about artificial intelligence, but don’t trust him.

“I’m not worried about the threat. But Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking are, and there’s not much doubt they are smarter than me, so…”

READ MORE: Alicia Vikander on Playing a Robot in ‘Ex Machina’

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Features and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox