The film Annihilation — directed by Alex Garland — is set to appear in theaters by February 23rd. It will follow the tale of an ill-fated expedition into an environmental disaster zone following the return of only a single soldier out of an entire group. This film will be based on the book Annihilation from the Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. Despite the fact that the film hasn’t yet debuted, Alex Garland has already set some new plans in motion for an eight-episode sci-fi stint on FX. It will be the third major project that Alex Garland has worked on. Though the show has not yet been named — and no storyline or plot has been released — Garland likens it to his first film rather than Annihilation.
The upcoming series is meant to show what might happen in the near-future modern world, taking a more realistic viewpoint that is based on “inferences and conclusions” about our current situation. It is not surprising that Garland has elected to go to television as he has been treated rather poorly by production companies lately.
For example, Paramount has sent Annihilation to Netflix in almost every major region excepting the United States. Plus, they have been selling a premise through advertisements for the film that really has nothing to do with what it is about. Despite the trailers depicting a thriller, the early screenings of Annihilation have resulted in markedly different descriptions — calling it “mind-bending” and “serious”.
So, when Alex Garland moves into the realm of television he is likely pursuing a little more creative freedom. After all, a television director has a lot of say in the final product — much more so than a major film studio. Though the budgets of television shows can be somewhat limited, this is more than made up for by the sheer amount of creative license that the actors, directors, and writers hold.
Garland’s upcoming eight-episode project will not be his last with FX. He even signed an exclusivity deal with FX, promising that he would write and produce shows and other projects exclusively for this company. They have also expressed “enormous respect for his uncompromising creative vision” and will undoubtedly give him the support he deserves due to his originality and boldness as a television director.
The director plans to move directly into filming his new series immediately after the release of Annihilation. He wants to direct each of the eight episodes himself — though he has admitted that it may not be possible due to his busy schedule. Plus, Garland is best-known as a writer, with movies like 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go in his portfolio.
He even snagged an Oscar for his directorial debut Ex Machina. This film is about a programmer who must administer a Turing test to a humanoid robot (thus proving artificial intelligence). Ex Machina was incredibly well-received and received an Oscar for the Best Visual Effects. It also was nominated for several other awards — including BAFTA Awards, Golden Globes, Empire Awards, and Saturn Awards.
If Garland’s success continues, he will surely become a leading name in the sci-fi spectrum of cinema. His new series seems pretty promising and should be a great take on the realistic progression of technology. Either way, we are looking forward to the February 23rd release of Annihilation.