It’s early in 2018, but I think I’ve seen what will be one of my favorite films of the year: writer-director Alex Garland’s Annihilation. Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s terrifying eco-horror novel of the same name, the movie stars Natalie Portman as a biologist and former soldier who joins a mission to uncover what exactly happened to her husband (Oscar Isaac) inside Area X, which is a mysterious—and growing—patch of land in the United States that seems to fundamentally alter everything in its path. Garland’s film also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, and Tuva Novotny.
Unlike a lot of movies where everything is explained and watered down by studio notes and focus groups, Annihilation is a hard sci-fi thriller where you’re constantly trying to figure out what is happening, and I loved every second of it. In addition, the film contains a lot of weird and bold choices that will no doubt engender divisive reactions, but that’s a tell-tale sign of a unique movie-going experience. It’s the type of film that rarely gets made and Paramount Pictures deserves major commendations for releasing it in the first place.
With Annihilation now in theaters in North America, I recently sat down with Garland and Isaac for a lively and funny conversation. What you need to know about this interview is a few minutes before it started I had sat down with Garland for an extended interview (which you can watch here) where we really got into the making of the film. So when I sat down to do this interview, I made a joke about Star Wars and Garland told me he wanted the interview to be nothing but me asking Isaac about The Last Jedi. Which is what led me to my first question. Since I got the vibe that Garland just wanted to have some fun, I decided to follow up my Star Wars question with the most important thing I could possibly ask: did they know the dancing sequence in Ex-Machina was going to be the gif to end all gifs? Of course I also asked about Annihilation, but if you really want to hear about the making of the film you should watch the aforementioned Garland interview.
Check out what they to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about and some images from the film.
Alex Garland and Oscar Isaac:
- How Oscar was filming both Annihilation and Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the same time and at the same studio.
- Did they know the dancing sequence in Ex-Machina was going to be the gif to end all gif’s?
- Did they talk about doing another dance sequence in Annihilation?
- How did Isaac find out about Annihilation and Garland talks about giving Isaac less dialogue and things to do.
For more on Annihilation:
- ‘Annihilation’: Everything We Learned on the Set of 2018’s Strangest & Most Audacious Sci-Fi Film
- ‘Annihilation’s Natalie Portman on What Alex Garland Did That Surprised the Cast
- ‘Annihilation’ Featurette Digs Into the Mystery of “The Shimmer”
- ‘Annihilation’ Explained: Unpacking Alex Garland’s Brilliant, Trippy Sci-Fi Horror Film