Alexander Medawar Garland
26 May 1970
London, England, UK
|Education||University of Manchester|
Alexander Medawar Garland (born 26 May 1970) is an English writer and filmmaker. He rose to prominence as a novelist in the late 1990s with his novel The Beach, which led some critics to call Garland a key voice of Generation X. He subsequently received praise for the screenplays of the films 28 Days Later (2002), Sunshine (2007), Never Let Me Go (2010), and Dredd (2012). He co-wrote the video game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010) and was a story supervisor on DmC: Devil May Cry (2013).
In 2014, Garland made his directorial debut with Ex Machina, a science fiction-thriller which explores the emergence of artificial general intelligence. The film earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and won three BIFA awards for Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best British Independent Film. His second film, 2018's Annihilation, based on the 2014 novel by Jeff VanderMeer, was also a critical success, but a box office failure. In 2020, he wrote and directed the FX on Hulu miniseries Devs.
Garland was born in London, England, the son of psychologist Caroline (née Medawar) and political cartoonist Nicholas Garland. He has a younger brother, Theodore, and two older paternal half-siblings, Tim and Emily. His maternal grandparents are Nobel Prize-winning British biologist Peter Medawar and writer Jean Medawar.
Garland's first novel, The Beach, was published in 1996. Based upon Garland's 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. Garland would later speak of his discomfort with the fame The Beach brought him. "I never felt comfortable with it (the novel)." The Beach has been translated into 25 different languages and sold close to 700,000 copies by the start of 1999. It was developed into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
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.
In 2002, Garland wrote the screenplay for Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, starring Cillian Murphy. He has said that the script was influenced by 1970s zombie films and British science fiction like The Day of the Triffids. 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. Inspiration for the "Rage" virus came from real world infections such as Ebola and filoviruses. He won a Best Screenplay honor at the 2004 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards for his script of the film.
In 2005, Garland wrote a script for a film adaptation of Halo. D. B. Weiss and Josh Olson rewrote this during 2006 for a 2008 release, though the film was later cancelled. 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 to 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.
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 which was a memory of the book," rather than book-referenced screenwriting, to capture the "dream like nature" and tone of his reading experience. Production began in 2016, and the film was released in February 2018.
In January 2021, Garland was hired to direct his third film, Men, scheduled to star Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear. The film follows a young woman who goes on a solo vacation to the English countryside after the death of her ex-husband.
Garland wrote, executive produced, 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. It stars Ex Machina and Annihilation actress Sonoya Mizuno, alongside Nick Offerman, Jin Ha, Zach Grenier, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Cailee Spaeny, and Alison Pill. 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.
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.
|1996||The Beach||Ranked 103 in BBC's 2003 The Big Read poll.|
|2002||28 Days Later||No||Yes||No|
|28 Weeks Later||No||Uncredited||Executive||Rewrites|
|2010||Never Let Me Go||No||Yes||Executive|
|Ex Machina||Yes||Yes||No||Nominated- Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay|
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best British Film
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Filmmaker
Nominated- AACTA Award for Best Original Screenplay
|2010||Enslaved: Odyssey to the West||Co-Writer|
|2013||DmC: Devil May Cry||Story-Supervisor|
Awards and nominations
- Hume, Lucy, ed. (2017). "Garland, Nicholas Withycombe [entry]". People of Today 2017. Debrett's. p. 2,365. ISBN 9781999767037.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- 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.
- Garland, Alex; Page, Michael (1 February 2000). The Beach. Brilliance Corp. ASIN 1567403549 – via Amazon.
- "Alex Garland". British Council. n.d. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
- 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)
- Lewis, Tim (11 January 2015). "Alex Garland on Ex Machina: 'I feel more attached to this film than to anything before'". The Guardian.
- '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.
- Garland, Alex. "Hip author Alex Garland talks about The Beach". Gluckman.com. Interviewed by Ron Gluckman. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
- Stewart, Rod (7 January 2000). "Alex Hamilton's paperback fastsellers of 1999". The Bookseller. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
- Scott, A. O. (27 June 2003). "Film Review; Spared by a Virus But Not by Mankind". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- Watson, Grant (6 November 2014). ""Something in the blood" | 28 Days Later... (2002)". Fiction Machine. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- Garland, Alex (10 April 2015). "INTERVIEW: Director Alex Garland on Ex Machina". Huffington Post. Interviewed by Zaki Hasan. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
- 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.
- "'Annihilation' director Alex Garland chats with CNET about the upcoming film". CNET. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018 – via YouTube. @ 32m15s-33m30s
- The Media Hub (10 February 2018). "ANNIHILATION (2018) - Alex Garland Behind the Scenes Interview - The Media Hub this week". The Media Hub. Retrieved 18 March 2018 – via YouTube.
- Talks at Google (22 February 2018). "Alex Garland 'Annihilation' - Talks at Google". Talks at Google. Retrieved 18 March 2018 – via YouTube. @ 03m30 - "In this [adaptation] instance it was like an adaptation of the atmosphere."
- Kroll, Justin (29 April 2016). "'Containment' Star Joins Natalie Portman in 'Annihilation'". Variety. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
- Robinson, Joanna (30 March 2016). "Oscar Isaac Re-unites with Ex Machina Director to Join the All-Female Cast of Annihilation". Vanity Fair. Conde Nast. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- 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.
- "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.
- "Cailee Spaeny on What to Expect From Alex Garland's New Show, Devs". Indiewire. 26 July 2019. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
- "The Big Read - Top 200 Books". BBC. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
- "Karl Urban Says Alex Garland Actually Directed 'Dredd'". Collider. 7 March 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
- "Alex Garland Will Never Direct Another 'Dredd' Movie: 'It Was a Crude Experience'". IndieWire. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 20 October 2020.