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Alex Garland May Direct ‘Annihilation,’ Says There’s No Plans For An ‘Ex Machina’ Sequel

Alex Garland May Direct 'Annihilation,' Says There's No Plans For An 'Ex Machina' Sequel

Ex Machina” is perhaps one of the unlikeliest hit movies of the year. An original sci-fi film, with nothing in the name of A-list stars, and certainly no prospect for toys or lunchboxes. And yet, great reviews, a savvy campaign by A24, and audiences once again proving if you give them a decent movie, they’ll show up — all of these factors have contributed to Alex Garland‘s picture becoming a sleeper sensation. And while the plot might obviously not lend itself to a followup, the director has made clear he has no desire to try and invent one. 

“I imagined it as a completely self-contained story and I still feel that way about it,” he told Deadline. “It has become reflexive for people to imagine this movie was made to set up a sequel and that the plan was built into the structure of the film. But it was not that way, at all.”

So, case closed, and Garland is already figuring out what he might do next. And his eyeballs are on an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer‘s “Annihilation.” “This group of women enter a sealed park to see what is going on inside, and it becomes this surreal sci-fi story, that reminded me of this J.G. Ballard sub-genre I had grown up reading,” Garland said about the story. “We are literally in the process of setting it up, it’s definitely spinning in the air at the moment.” The project is set up at Paramount with producer Scott Rudin, and unlike “Ex Machina,” this has franchise potential as the first book in a trilogy. Here’s the synopsis from the novel:

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.

“Ex Machina” goes wide to two thousand screens this weekend. And if you haven’t seen it yet, support original movies and buy a ticket.

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