A24 Films has just snapped up the U.S. distribution rights to Alex Garland’s science fiction thriller Ex Machina. The film marks the directorial debut of Garland, who previously penned the screenplays to Dredd (2012), Never Let Me Go (2010) and the Danny Boyle features 28 Days Later (2003) and Sunshine (2007)– Garland also wrote the novel The Beach, from which Boyle made into a 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time) and Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina) star. Garland also wrote the screenplay.
Ex Machina tells the story of computer programmer named Caleb (Gleeson) who works for an Internet search giant and wins a contest to spend a week at the remote mountain estate of his company’s leader– the reclusive Nathan (Isaac.) Unbeknownst to Caleb, he was selected to participate in a top secret experiment– known as the Turing Test (a nod to computer scientist Alan Turing, whose Benedict Cumberbatch-headlined biopic is headed to theaters shortly)– evaluating the human qualities in a beautiful, state-of-the-art, artificially intelligent woman named Ava (Vikander.) The unexpected, or perhaps completely expected, occurs when Ava proves to be more emotionally sophisticated and deceptive than originally intended.
Gleeson and Isaac, will have a very busy 2015 with this feature and little film set in a galaxy far, far away opening in theaters next year. Both actors will co-star in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars VII, currently filming. Before that, Gleeson will appear in Angelina Jolie’s WWII epic Unbroken due in theaters this Christmas and also has Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s The Revenant in the pipeline. Isaac will appear in the gritty drama A Most Violent Year from director J.C. Chandor (All is Lost) due out on December 31st; Isaac recently earned a Gotham Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance in that film.
Vikander will next be seen in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. opposite Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) and is currently filming the drama The Light Between the Oceans opposite Michael Fassbender (Shame) and Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy) for director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine.)
While only a few years old, A24 Films has been building a sturdy library of widely eclectic independent films including Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring, Under the Skin and Obvious Child. Coming up, A24 will release A Most Violent Year, which may be the fledgling distributors first awards film. Including Ex Machina, so far A24’s 2015 output includes Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, which was acquired after the film made its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival. Ex Machina is set to be released on April 10, 2015.