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‘Civil War’ Director Alex Garland Says He’s Done Directing for the ‘Foreseeable Future’

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images for A24

“Annihilation” director Alex Garland won’t be in the director’s chair anytime soon after the release of his upcoming “Civil War.”

In an interview published Sunday with The Guardian, Garland confirmed he plans to step back from the camera after the April 12 release date of his Kirsten Dunst-starring war epic.

“Nothing’s changed. I’m in a very similar state,” he told the outlet, nodding to an interview he gave in 2022 where he indicated he might be refocusing on just screenwriting for the next while. “I’m not planning to direct again in the foreseeable future.”

He later added that he’s fallen out of love with filmmaking, emphasizing, “I do actually love film” still, but “filmmaking doesn’t exist in a vacuum.”

Garland also admitted that the love of filmmaking no longer outweighs the pressure he feels day and night to deliver on his work.

“The pressure doesn’t come from the money,” he explained. “It comes from the fact that you’re asking people to trust something that, on the face of it, doesn’t look very trustworthy.”

To illustrate that point, he referenced his 2014 film “Ex Machina” and said, “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.”

Garland is attached to codirect the upcoming project “Warfare” with Ray Mendoza, who will be making his feature directing debut. Garland painted his role as more of a supporting character to Mendoza’s lead, explaining, “I respect [Mendzoa] a great deal, though we’re very different.”

The Guardian interview isn’t the first time Garland has said he’s moving away from directing. In a 2022 conversation with the New York Times, he said that before directing “Ex Machina,” he wrote screenplays that other people directed, and that’s something he wanted to get back to. “I’m tired of feeling like a fraud. I’ve got so many other reasons to feel like a fraud, I don’t need to add to it in a structural way with my job.”

In the same piece, Garland posited that perhaps his decision to step back has to do with the passage of time.

“I think it is partly a function of getting older: I know less and less people, I have a smaller and smaller circle, and I go out less and less,” he said. “Everything’s just getting progressively quieter and smaller, I’d say.”

“Civil War” has been praised as being “unlike anything [Garland’s] done before.” The movie stars Dunst as Lee, a photojournalist covering a political conflict in the United States. Lee bands together with photographer Jessie (Cailee Spaeny) and Joel (Wagner Moura) and Sammy (Stephen McKinley Henderson) to interview the president (Nick Offerman) before he is violently forced out of office.

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