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Alexander Medawar Garland[2] (born 26 May 1970)[3] is an English novelist, screenwriter, film producer and director. He rose to prominence as a novelist in the late 1990s with his novel The Beach, which led some critics to call Garland a key voice of Generation X.[4] He subsequently received praise for the screenplays of the films 28 Days Later (2002), Sunshine (2007), Never Let Me Go (2010) and Dredd (2012).

Alex Garland
BornAlexander Medawar Garland
(1970-05-26) 26 May 1970 (age 48)
London, England
Alma materUniversity of Manchester
  • Novelist
  • screenwriter
  • director
Years active1996–present
Spouse(s)Paloma Baeza[1]
Parent(s)Nicholas Garland
RelativesPeter Medawar
(maternal grandfather)

In 2015, Garland made his directorial debut with Ex Machina, a science fiction thriller which explores the relationship between mankind and artificial intelligence; the film earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.[5] He also won three BIFA awards for Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best British Independent Film. His second film, 2018's Annihilation, based on the 2014 novel by Jeff VanderMeer, was a critical success.


Early lifeEdit

Garland was born in London, England,[6] the son of psychologist Caroline (née Medawar) and political cartoonist Nicholas Garland. He graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in History of Art.[1][7] His maternal grandfather is Nobel Prize-winning British biologist Peter Medawar.


Novel writingEdit

In 1996, Garland's first novel, The Beach was published. The Beach is based upon Garland's own travels across Europe and the Philippines, it tells the story of a young English backpacker who discovers an unspoiled sea shore occupied by a community of like-minded backpackers. The novel is noted for its references to drug culture, sequences of hallucinations and unique depictions of excess and utopia, which have been commended by critics. The Beach was initially met with positive reviews, and with a spreading word of mouth response the novel grew into a cult classic. Garland would later speak of the overwhelming discomfort with the fame The Beach had allowed him to achieve, “I never felt comfortable with it (the novel).”[1] The Beach has been translated into 25 different languages[8] and sold close to 700,000 copies by the start of 1999.[9] It would later be developed into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

In 1998, Garland followed up The Beach with The Tesseract, a non-linear narrative with several interwoven characters set in Manila, Philippines. The novel is characterized by a post-modernist narrative style and structure. It explores several themes such as love and violence through each character's circumstance and context of surroundings as well as seemingly inconsequential actions and the repercussions of those actions on other characters. The Tesseract did not enjoy the critical or commercial success of The Beach, but it too was the subject of a film adaptation.

Throughout his career and work, Garland has expressed his love of travel (particularly backpacking) and his love of Manila, Philippines, much of which would influence his work.[8]


In 2000, Garland adapted his first novel The Beach to be directed by Danny Boyle. The film starred Leonardo DiCaprio.

In 2002, Garland wrote the screenplay for Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, starring Cillian Murphy.[10] He has said that the script was influenced by 1970s zombie films and British science fiction like The Day of the Triffids.[11] Video games such as the Resident Evil series also served as an influence for 28 Days Later, with Garland crediting the first game for revitalizing the zombie genre.[12] Inspiration for the "Rage" virus came from real world infections such as Ebola and filoviruses.[11] He won a Best Screenplay honor at the 2004 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards for his script of the film.

In 2005, Garland wrote a script for a film adaptation of Halo; he was paid $1 million. D. B. Weiss and Josh Olson rewrote this during 2006 for a 2008 release, though the film was later cancelled. In 2007, he wrote the screenplay for the film Sunshine – his second screenplay to be directed by Danny Boyle and to star Cillian Murphy. Garland served as an executive producer on 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to 28 Days Later. He wrote the screenplay for the 2010 film Never Let Me Go, based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. He also wrote the script for Dredd, an adaptation of the Judge Dredd comic book series from 2000 AD. In 2018, Karl Urban, who played the eponymous role in the film, stated that it was Garland who deserved credit for also directing Dredd.[13]


Garland made his credited directorial debut with Ex Machina, a 2015 feature film based on his own story and screenplay. The film stars Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac. The film won a Jury Prize at the 2015 Gerardmer Film Festival and earned Garland a nomination for an Academy award for best original screenplay. The film's lead actress, Alicia Vikander, was nominated for a Best Actress award at the Empire Awards.[14]

Garland's second film, Annihilation (2018), was based on Jeff VanderMeer's 2014 science fiction novel of the same name. Garland has described it as "an adaptation which was a memory of the book," rather than book-referenced screenwriting, to capture the "dream like nature" and tone of his reading experience.[15][16][17] Production began in 2016,[18] and the film was released in February 2018.[19]

Video gamesEdit

Garland is the co-writer on the video game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. For his writing work on the game, he won a 2011 award from the Writer's Guild of Great Britain (along with co-writer Tameem Antoniades). Garland also served as a Story Supervisor on the game DmC: Devil May Cry in 2013.

Personal lifeEdit

Garland is married to actress Paloma Baeza and has two children.[1]


Year Novel Notes
1996 The Beach Ranked 103 in BBC's 2003 The Big Read poll.[20]
1998 The Tesseract
2004 The Coma


Year Film Director (Executive)
Screenwriter Notes
2002 28 Days Later Yes NominatedChainsaw Award for Best Screenplay
NominatedHugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form (Shared with Danny Boyle)
NominatedSaturn Award for Best Screenplay
2007 Sunshine Yes
28 Weeks Later Yes
2010 Never Let Me Go Yes Yes NominatedSaturn Award for Best Screenplay
NominatedBritish Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay
NominatedEvening Standard British Film Award for Best Screenplay
2012 Dredd Yes Yes
2014 Big Game Yes
2015 Ex Machina Yes Yes NominatedAcademy Award for Best Original Screenplay
NominatedBritish Academy Film Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated - Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film (Shared with Andrew Macdonald & Allon Reich)
Nominated - Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
Nominated - EDA Award for Best Writing, Original Screenplay
Nominated - Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated - Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best New Filmmaker
Nominated - AACTA Award for Best Screenplay
Won - British Independent Film Award for Best Director
Won - British Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay
Won - British Independent Film Award for Best British Independent Film
Nominated - Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Filmmaker
Nominated - Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay
Won - Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director
Nominated - European Film Award for European Screenwriter
Nominated - Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best original Screenplay
Gérardmer Film Festival Jury Prize
Silver Scream Award
Nominated - London Critics Circle Film Award for Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker
Nominated - Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated - San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best original Screenplay
Nominated - San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay, Original
Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Director
Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Writing
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best First Feature
Nominated - Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
Nominated - Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best original Screenplay
2018 Annihilation Yes Yes

Video gamesEdit

Year Game Notes
2010 Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Co-Writer

Writers Guild of Great Britain Award for Best Continuing Drama (Shared with Tameem Antoniades)

2013 DmC: Devil May Cry Story-Supervisor


  1. ^ a b c d Lewis, Tim (11 January 2015). "Alex Garland on Ex Machina: 'I feel more attached to this film than to anything before'". The Guardian.
  2. ^ Hume, Lucy, ed. (2017). "Garland, Nicholas Withycombe [entry]". People of Today 2017. Debrett's. p. 2,365. ISBN 9781999767037.
  3. ^ Lovece, Frank (20 February 2018). "Unnatural Resource: Alex Garland and Natalie Portman probe the mysteries of 'Annihilation'". Film Journal International. Archived from the original on 21 February 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2018. Q. You were born in London, May 26, 1970? Correct? A. Yep, that's right. So I'm told.
  4. ^ Garland, Alex; Page, Michael (1 February 2000). The Beach. Brilliance Corp. ASIN 1567403549 – via Amazon.
  5. ^ "Nominees: Writing original screenplay". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  6. ^ "Alex Garland". British Council. n.d. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  7. ^ CNET, CNET (2018-02-08). "'Annihilation' director Alex Garland chats with CNET about the upcoming film". YouTube. CNET. Retrieved 2018-03-18. @ 14m40s
  8. ^ a b Gluckman, Ron. "Hip author Alex Garland talks about The Beach". Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  9. ^ Stewart, Rod (7 January 2000). "Alex Hamilton's paperback fastsellers of 1999". The Bookseller. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  10. ^ Scott, A. O. (27 June 2003). "Film Review; Spared by a Virus But Not by Mankind". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  11. ^ a b Watson, Grant (November 6, 2014). ""Something in the blood" | 28 Days Later… (2002)". Fiction Machine. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  12. ^ Hasan, Zaki (April 10, 2015). "INTERVIEW: Director Alex Garland on Ex Machina". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  13. ^ Urban in Shirey, Paul (March 7, 2018). "EXC: Karl Urban Says Alex Garland Directed Dredd & Updates on Reprising Role". Archived from the original on March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2018. A huge part of the success of 'Dredd' is in fact due to Alex Garland and what a lot of people don’t realize is that Alex Garland actually directed that movie. ... I just hope when people think of Alex Garland’s filmography that 'Dredd' is the first film that he made before Ex Machina.
  14. ^ Barraclough, Leo (24 February 2015). "'The Imitation Game' Leads Race for Empire Awards". Variety.
  15. ^ CNET (2018-02-08). "'Annihilation' director Alex Garland chats with CNET about the upcoming film". YouTube. CNET. Retrieved 2018-03-18. @ 32m15s-33m30s
  16. ^ The Media Hub (2018-02-10). "ANNIHILATION (2018) - Alex Garland Behind the Scenes Interview - The Media Hub this week". YouTube. The Media Hub. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  17. ^ Talks at Google (2018-02-22). "Alex Garland 'Annihilation' - Talks at Google". YouTube. Talks at Google. Retrieved 2018-03-18. @ 03m30 - "In this [adaptation] instance it was like an adaptation of the atmosphere."
  18. ^ Kroll, Justin (29 April 2016). "'Containment' Star Joins Natalie Portman in 'Annihilation'". Variety. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  19. ^ Robinson, Joanna. "Oscar Isaac Re-unites with Ex Machina Director to Join the All-Female Cast of Annihilation". Vanity Fair. Conde Nast. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  20. ^ "The Big Read - Top 200 Books". BBC. Retrieved 9 April 2017.

External linksEdit