Civil War director threatens to quit film-making for the ‘foreseeable future’

Civil War director threatens to quit film-making for the ‘foreseeable future’

Alex Garland has announced that Civil War may be his last film as a director for the “foreseeable future.”

The forthcoming A24 release, which Garland also wrote, sees a team of journalists travelling across the United States during the rapid escalation of a second civil war between the American government and the separatist “Western Forces” led by Texas and California.

Kirsten Dunst stars in the film as an acclaimed photojournalist alongside Wagner Moura and Priscilla star Cailee Spaeny. Nick Offerman, well-known for his role as Ron Swanson in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, plays the president.

With a rumoured $50m budget, Civil War is indie production company A24’s most expensive film to date – and it seems it might be Ex Machina filmmaker Garland’s last one behind the camera.

In a recent interview, the filmmaker said: “I’m not planning to direct again in the foreseeable future… I do actually love film, but filmmaking doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It exists in a life and also in a broader context.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Garland said he still plans to be a screenwriter. He cited anxiety arising from the challenges of working with actors and crew members being one of the factors in his decision to stop directing.

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

Civil War has faced some criticism, with some feeling the film took a politically neutral approach. There were also fears that the film’s release date came too close to the present election-year polarisation for comfort.

Kirsten Dunst stars as Lee in Civil War (A24)
Kirsten Dunst stars as Lee in Civil War (A24)

Garland also spoke of his issues with excessive VFX and his concern that his careful treatment of intimate scenes in his 2014 sci-fi thriller Ex Machina is not normal in the industry. “Alicia [Vikander] and Sonoya [Mizuno] are trusting that nudity is going to be dealt with thoughtfully and respectfully… Cinema leans toward not doing that.”

He mentioned that a deep sense of responsibility to cast and crew “literally keeps me awake at night.”

Civil War is scheduled to be released on 12 April.