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Annihilation writer hits out at director Alex Garland for saying political differences are not ‘moral issues’

Annihilation writer hits out at director Alex Garland for saying political differences are not ‘moral issues’

Jeff VanderMeer, the best-selling author of Annihilation, has hit out at the movie adaptation’s director, Alex Garland, for controversial comments made in a recent interview.

In a new social media post, the author criticised Garland for his remarks about the current state of politics ahead of the release of his new movie, Civil War.

The movie arrives at the same time as a highly contentious presidential election in the US. It stars Kirsten Dunst, Cailee Spaeny, and Wagner Moura, and is set in a dystopian future in which Texas and California are at war.

The Ex Machina director said he believes political differences have been made into “moral issues”, describing it as “f***ing idiotic”.

He told The Hollywood Reporter:“Left and right are ideological arguments about how to run a state. That’s all they are. They are not a right or wrong, or good and bad. It’s which do you think has greater efficacy? That’s it.

“But we’ve made it into ‘good and bad.’ We made it into a moral issue, and it’s f***ing idiotic, and incredibly dangerous … I personally [blame] some of this on social media.”

VanderMeer re-shared Garland’s post alongside the phrase “self-annihilation” – an intentional play on the title of the project they have in common.

Author Jeff VanderMeer called Garland’s comments ‘self-annihilation’ (Getty Images)
Author Jeff VanderMeer called Garland’s comments ‘self-annihilation’ (Getty Images)

Social media users shared their thoughts on the original post, which has since been viewed over two million times.

“What a hideously boring take for a filmmaker making a movie on the subject,” wrote one user.

Another added: “Should we give food to people or exploit them so they live in poverty while we live in opulence? Hard to say, there’s not really any ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers here.”

It’s not the first time the author has criticised Garland. In 2022, he called his last movie Men “a mess”.

In the past, he has called Annihilation, “a very liberal adaptation” of his novel and has appeared to dodge questions about whether he is happy with it. However, he appeared to defend Garland over claims of “whitewashing”.

At the time, he wrote, “Yes, there are a lot of acts of translation, so to speak, and I never expected or wanted a faithful adaptation from Garland– just a good one.”

Civil War is set to be released next month after premiering at SXSW festival this week (14 March).