As far as first impressions go, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina proved to be quite a remarkable directorial debut. Blending button-pressing themes of artificial intelligence and a breakout performance from Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, the screenwriter more than proved that his talents aren’t restricted to a pen and paper. Imagine our excitement, then, now that Garland’s next feature film is shaping up to be a doozy.
Entitled Annihilation, the film will bring Jeff VanderMeer’s acclaimed sci-fi novel to the silver screen – the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy – and over the past few months Garland has been quietly assembling his cast. From Creed star Tessa Thompson to Natalie Portman and Gina Rodriguez, the female-centric feature focuses on a crack team of scientists – a biologist, an anthropologist, a psychologist, and a surveyor – who throw caution to the wind and venture into a patch of American land known as Area X.
For decades, the land mass has existed as a scientific anomaly, with past expeditions spawning a dubious game of Chinese whispers. One team claims Area X resembles the Garden of Eden, while a second expedition resulted in mass suicide and on and on we go until the stories become all the more horrific. For Annihilation, Alex Garland’s movie will follow the journey of the twelfth expedition.
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.
Should Jason Leigh close a deal to join the ensemble, the actress will likely assume the role of the final scientist of Garland’s tight-knit foursome – a role that had once attracted Frances McDormand, Julianne Moore, and Tilda Swinton. Annihilation is yet to nail down a formal production timeline, but expect the adaptation to begin filming later this year once casting has been finalized.
Source: The Wrap