Screenwriter Alex Garland was nominated for his first Academy Award for his work on Ex Machina, but he’s quietly been doing stellar work for over a decade. His first film, 28 Days Later, helped reenergize the zombie genre (and unlike most of its knockoffs, it’s legitimately scary), while Garland’s followups, Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go, are no slouches, either. Also, he wrote Dredd, and Dredd is awesome.
Garland’s next movie, Annihilation, doesn’t come out until 2017, but expectations are already super high. Not only because of the Oscar nomination, but because it’s based off a beloved science-fiction book. Jeff VanderMeer’s Nebula Award-winning novel of the same name, the first in the Southern Reach Trilogy, is about a group of women — an unnamed anthropologist, surveyor, biologist, and psychologist — who go on a dangerous expedition. To say more would ruin Annihilation‘s many haunting surprises. All you need to know is that the film stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac (Star Wars party!), and based on these photos, it looks as gorgeous as its cast.
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A quiet tribute to the outer peripheries of a dressed set. Beautiful, austere and elegant, yet largely ignored in the face of brutal time restrictions and other seemingly arbitrary reasons, but somehow defiant of the fact that it will never appear in the film. #bscine @rdhardy
The movie’s cinematographer Robert Hardy (who also worked with Garland on the elegantly sparse Ex Machina) also shared an image from Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 classic, Stalker, the “only film to appear in the research library for our current project.” He added, “A metaphysical journey into an area where the laws of nature do not apply.” That should sound eerily familiar to anyone who’s read Annihilation.