Alex Garland clarifies his retirement remarks, saying his words were wildly misinterpreted

Ex Machina and Civil War director Alex Garland said his retirement from filmmaking may be imminent, having fallen out of love with it.

Last Updated on April 5, 2024

alex garland is quitting directing

Update: Being misinterpreted is a drag. We try so hard to make our positions known, but then words get twisted, and people take the ball and run with it. Events like this can be worse for celebrities and filmmakers, whose statements are put through the grinder and presented on a grand stage. Alex Garland, the director of films like Ex Machina, Annihilation, and the upcoming A24 drama Civil War, says press outlets have taken his recent comments about retirement out of context. When Garland told the Guardian he’s “not planning to direct again in the forseeable future,” he did not think people would interpret that as his quitting the film industry full stop. Garland wants to set the record straight and clarify his thoughts.

Speaking with IndieWire, Garland says his retirement remarks have nothing to do with his upcoming film, Civil War.

“What I said is I’m going to take a break from directing for the foreseeable future. How that could get extrapolated as what pride I do or do not feel in this movie. I just don’t see the connecting thread,” he said. “I said I’m going to stop directing for the foreseeable future. Why would a statement like that be taken and picked over or interpreted to that degree? There’s something weird happening there. There’s something strange about that … it’s a general strangeness that exists to do with what form public statements take, how they are used, and how words are interpreted or read.”

Sensationalism is, unfortunately, a part of the entertainment press beast. We live in a time when misinformation is at an all-time high and “sells” better than the truth. I don’t think anyone bungled Garland’s statement on purpose, but they could have asked for clarification before letting speculation open a tab at the bar.

“Just to go back to the statement, I said: I’m going to take a break from directing or I’m going to stop directing for the foreseeable future. That is such an uncontentious thing to say,” Garland said. “I also said what I’m going to do is screenwriting. Screenwriting is filmmaking. You can’t erase screenwriters or DOPs or editors or actors from the process of screenwriting. Filmmaking is not the preserve solely of directors.”

What do you think about Alex Garland taking a break from filmmaking? Did you think he would quit after A24’s Civil War release? Let us know in the comments below.

Original Article: It’s a strange thing to show your disinterest in the film industry when you’re promoting your next film. But that’s just what Civil War director Alex Garland is doing, adding that he may very well be done with directing altogether.

Speaking with The Guardian, Alex Garland seemed weary and wary of the business, ultimately saying, “I’m not planning to direct again in the foreseeable future.” He even noted that he had fallen out of love with filmmaking as a whole. One reason may be the lack of communication, instead being put on tour to promote a movie instead of having more intellectual conversations about it. As he told the reporter, “I do actually love film, but film-making doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It exists in a life and also in a broader context. I have to interact, in a way – without being rude – [by engaging in such a manner].”

Alex Garland also said that other aspects of the industry related to trust have kept him up at night. One concern is that he has to try to convince his cast that anything he says will be on the blue screen behind them will in fact be what appears on the big screen, saying, “The pressure doesn’t come from the money. It comes from the fact that you’re asking people to trust something that, on the face of it, doesn’t look very trustworthy.” Another comes from a far more serious place, adding, “Alicia [Vikander] and Sonoya [Mizuno] are trusting that nudity is going to be dealt with thoughtfully and respectfully…[when] cinema leans towards not doing that.”

At just 53 and with just four features (in terms of directing, at least) to his name, it does seem far too soon for Alex Garland to hang it up. But these do appear to be genuine concerns of his in terms of not just his own sets but the industry as a whole, especially when it comes to his aforementioned point regarding nudity. Intimacy coordinators grew in popularity within the industry in the late 2010s as a means to promote safety and limit exploitation on sets when it comes to sexually geared scenes. But one does wonder just how closely such roles are being implemented; and even if they are rigorous, what can you really say to completely put the actor at ease, especially with how much disgraceful behavior has taken place before?

We’d hate to see Alex Garland retire so early, especially since his films, like Ex Machina and his latest, have generated worthy conversation about our society. Hollywood would absolutely be suffering a loss if Garland steps away.

Source: The Guardian

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.