Civil War Director Alex Garland Is Taking A Long, Long Break From Filmmaking

Alex Garland is about to deliver what the /News staff has declared one of the best movies of 2024 with "Civil War" — a film that will surely give rise to a nice, pleasant, and completely unproblematic discourse. Adding to the discussions may be the fact that the massive war drama about journalists on the front lines trying to do their job in the middle of a second U.S. Civil War could also be the last movie Alex Garland ever directs.

So said the writer-director in 2022 while shooting "Civil War," claiming that he is "definitely" walking away from directing, at least for a while. In a new interview with The Guardian, Garland reiterated his goal of having his filmmaking career end with his latest A24 project. "Nothing's changed," he said about his retirement plan. "I'm in a very similar state. I'm not planning to direct again in the foreseeable future."

It's important to note here that Garland is specifically talking about the foreseeable future, not forever. He is not pulling a Hayao Miyazaki — the notorious retiree — wherein he might show up in a year and a half announcing a new film, only to retire again, then unretire, then rinse and repeat. In this new interview, Garland clarified that he still likes filmmaking:

"I do actually love film, but filmmaking doesn't exist in a vacuum. It exists in a life and also in a broader context."

Falling out of love with a job

The Guardian interview also noted that Garland still plans to do screenwriting work, which will be his focus during his break from directing. This comes as both important and welcome news, given Garland's stellar output as a screenwriter in the past. As a writer-director, his run of "Ex Machina," "Annihilation," the TV show "Devs," and yes, even "Men" (the closest things we've gotten to a proper live-action "Attack on Titan") is already fantastic, even before factoring "Civil War" in.

And yet, his work as a screenwriter resulted in two of the best British movies of the 2000s: director Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later" and "Sunshine." The former continues to influence zombie movies to this day, while "Sunshine" is one of the best sci-fi movies of this century, period. Perhaps this is an opportunity for Garland to go back to collaborating with other directors as he steps down from the job himself — say, with the highly anticipated "28 Years Later?"

It's still a shame, though, given Garland's reasons for walking away. The man has often talked about how taxing directing is on him. What's more, he's admitted to only really directing "out of convenience" and anxiety upon having a director mess with his writing.

Honestly, this is as good a reason to step away from a job as anything, and who knows — maybe he'll find a passion for directing once again down the line.

"Civil War" opens in theaters on April 12, 2024.