Alex Garland put himself on the map all the way back in 1996 with his debut novel, The Beach, a sweaty, propulsive little thriller that was eventually adapted for the screen in 2000 by Danny Boyle*. The adaptation's sort of a mixed bag - for everything it gets right, there's another the film gets wrong - but the experience apparently led to a friendly working relationship between Garland and Boyle: the two went on to work together on 28 Days Later and Sunshine (both of which Garland scripted, and both of which were received much better by critics).
After a brief diversion into the gaming world (Garland wrote the script for the underrated sci-fi actioner Enslaved: Odyssey To The West, as well as an unproduced script for the aborted Halo movie, which would've been directed by Neill Blomkamp), Garland returned to the world of film, adapting Never Let Me Go for Mark Romanek in 2010 and Dredd for director Pete Travis** in 2012. All of which is to say: it was probably inevitable that Alex Garland would write and direct his own film at some point. All of which is also to say: we should be excited about that.
Case in point: the trailer for Garland's first film, Ex Machina, has just popped up online, and it looks awesome. Starring future Episode VII cast members Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina is a dark sci-fi thriller wherein...
Caleb Smith (Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-‐search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company's brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Isaac). Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Test—charging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence. That experiment is Ava (Alicia Vikander), an astonishing A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticated, seductive––and more deceptive–– than the two men could have imagined.
A solid setup, sure, but that trailer really sells the concept. This thing looks great! BAD readers in the UK will get a look at this one a bit before we will over in the States (it opens January 23rd overseas, April 10th in North America***), but whatever: as a longtime Alex Garland fan, I'm thrilled to see the guy finally step up and direct one of his own scripts, so I'm happy to wait. What do you guys think?
* = If you've only ever seen The Beach, pick up a copy of the novel via the Amazon link below immediately. It's way better than the movie.
** = Rumors persist that Garland was much more involved with the direction of Dredd than some IMDB credits would have you believe. But that's none of my business.
*** = Anyone wanna take bets on this premiering Stateside during SXSW?
Update: If you live outside of the U.S. and can't see the above trailer, try this one.