Movie Annihilation (2.22.18) Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson

BIV

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Oscar Isaac Re-Teams With Ex Machina's Alex Garland for Annihilation
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Annihilation begins filming this year.
By Matt Porter

Oscar Isaac will once again be joining director Alex Garland for upcoming sci-fi thriller Annihilation.

According to The Tracking Board, Isaac is now officially on board. Garland is directing his own script, which is an adaptation of the first novel of the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. Also confirmed for the cast are Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson.






Isaac and Garland on the set of Ex Machina. Image credit: The Tracking Board.

Isaac and Garland last teamed up on Garland's directorial debut in Ex Machina, which was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, and won the award for Best Visual Effects at the Oscars.

Isaac was also part of the hugely successful Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Poe Dameron, and is also starring in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.

Annihilation will focus on a team of four setting out into "Area X," a sealed off zone which has something mysterious within. It's due to begin filming soon.

http://www.ign.com/articles/2016/03...-annihilation?abthid=56fbed5adf312b9d0b00000c
 

BIV

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I am unfamiliar with the Southern Reach Trilogy. Anybody here read it?
 

Pigdango

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BUMP! Trailer!

@NeonTaster and @BIV get tags since they're the only ones who posted in this thread.

 

BIV

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I'm down. It looks unique. I like unique.
 

Muscles

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Really interesting looking. Like Arrival but much weirder.
 

whiskeyguy

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That does look interesting, and the book's synopsis sounds good also. I think I'm going to give it a shot, it's only 195 pages.
 

Pigdango

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I was pretty excited for this, but I'm getting the feeling it's going to be poo. It's less about the whitewashing and more about the international release getting dumped to Netflix.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/h...itewashing-alex-garlands-annihilation-1084077

FEBRUARY 12, 2018 3:44pm PT by Graeme McMillan

'Annihilation' Criticized for "White-Washed Casting"

Alex Garland’s Annihilation is facing some criticism as it heads toward its Feb. 23 release. After dealing with warring producers and Paramount offloading international release of the movie to Netflix, the adaptation of the critically acclaimed sci-fi novel is under fire from two advocacy groups for whitewashing two of its core characters.

The movie stars Natalie Portman as a biologist and leader of an expedition into a mysterious area where the laws of physics don’t seem to apply. In Jeff VanderMeer’s 2014 novel Authority — a direct sequel to the original Annihilation novel — the character is described as being of Asian descent, with the author describing her as having “dark, thick eyebrows, a slight, slightly off-center nose (broken once, falling on rocks), and high cheekbones that spoke to the strong Asian heritage on one side of her family.”

Similarly, the character of the Psychologist is described in Authority as being half-American Indian/half-Caucasian, but is played by Jennifer Jason Leigh in the movie version of Annihilation. (In VanderMeer’s books, the characters go unnamed; they’re identified by occupation and role only.) The movie’s central cast isn’t entirely white, however; Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Oscar Isaac and Benedict Wong all have roles.

The casting choices have led to the movie being criticized by the organizations Media Action Network for Asian Americans and American Indians in Film and Television.

“Writer/director Alex Garland is not being true and honest to the characters in the book,” MANAA board member Alieesa Badreshia said in a statement. “He exploits the story but fails to take advantage of the true identities of each character. Hollywood rarely writes prominent parts for Asian American and American Indian characters, and those roles could’ve bolstered the careers of women from those communities.”

Sonny Skyhawk, founder of American Indians in Film and Television, agreed. “We are not surprised by the Whack-a-Mole diversity replacement that goes on; just when you finish objecting to one white-washed casting, another one pops up,” he said in a statement.

Garland has already defended himself from accusations of whitewashing the book, noting that the descriptions appeared in the second book in the series and telling Nerdist in December, “It would not be in my nature to whitewash anything. That just wouldn’t be like me. I read a book and I adapted it because I thought the book was amazing. And I thought, ‘I’m not exactly sure how to adapt this, but I’ve got an idea.’ And I just went with it. So that was it.”

Garland said in that same interview that he hadn’t even read the second and third books in VanderMeer’s series. VanderMeer has yet to comment publicly about the issue, although he has — in reference to other parts of the translation between media for Annihilationnoted that he “never expected or wanted a faithful adaptation from Garland — just a good one.”
 

Pigdango

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More on the Netflix dumping. The Producers fighting also is a really bad sign:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/h...-between-producers-led-a-netflix-deal-1065465

The really interesting part:

While the move is partly reflective of the concern studios now bring to releasing challenging midbudget movies, one impetus has its roots in a clash between two of the movie’s powerhouse producers.

In one corner is Scott Rudin, whose many credits include The Social Network and Lady Bird, and in the other sits David Ellison, the head of Skydance Productions, the company that made Geostorm and Terminator: Genysis. Skydance is also a major co-financier of Paramount’s slate.

The movie, which wrapped shooting in July 2016, had a poor test screening this summer that sources say was the root of the conflict. After the screening, Ellison became concerned that the movie was “too intellectual” and “too complicated,” according to sources, and wanted changes made to make it appeal to a wider audience. They included making Portman’s character more sympathetic as well as tweaking the ending.

Rudin, who executive produced Ex Machina, sided with Garland, defending the movie and refused to take notes. Rudin was able to hold his line, according to a source, because he has final cut.
Ok, so based on their filmographies, I'd trust Rudin more than Ellison, and I think it's good that Rudin sided with Garland. But still, the movie tested poorly. Now that could just mean that it's too sophisticated for general audiences and cool kids like @Neon will love it. Or it could mean that it's poo.
 

HandPanzer

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HandPanzer

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The interesting thing about Netflix (and similar services) is that their content doesn't even have to be great to successful, it just has to be there.
 

Radioguy

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But still, the movie tested poorly. Now that could just mean that it's too sophisticated for general audiences and cool kids like @Neon will love it. Or it could mean that it's poo.
Saw lots of free screening offers on this, and that's usually a bad sign.
 

Neon

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More on the Netflix dumping. The Producers fighting also is a really bad sign:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/h...-between-producers-led-a-netflix-deal-1065465

The really interesting part:



Ok, so based on their filmographies, I'd trust Rudin more than Ellison, and I think it's good that Rudin sided with Garland. But still, the movie tested poorly. Now that could just mean that it's too sophisticated for general audiences and cool kids like @Neon will love it. Or it could mean that it's poo.
I'll give Garland the benefit of the doubt.
 

Pigdango

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I'll give Garland the benefit of the doubt.
Rudin did as well, and since you guys hold filmmakers in such high regard that’s probably a good sign - at least Garland’s version is going to make it to the screen, unlike some of the other recent high profile disasters. It’s entirely possible they didn’t get the “right” folks in for the test screening and/or the studio didn’t really know what they were signing up for.

As the articles indicate, mid range sci fi is probably the toughest nut to crack for studios, not just in terms of production, but marketing as well. Look at the way Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 are perceived. In the sci fi community both are very well regarded. Outside of that, one is considered a flop and the other a masterpiece.
 

Radioguy

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Jeez, just got hit with more screening offers.
 

Neon

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Rudin did as well, and since you guys hold filmmakers in such high regard that’s probably a good sign - at least Garland’s version is going to make it to the screen, unlike some of the other recent high profile disasters. It’s entirely possible they didn’t get the “right” folks in for the test screening and/or the studio didn’t really know what they were signing up for.

As the articles indicate, mid range sci fi is probably the toughest nut to crack for studios, not just in terms of production, but marketing as well. Look at the way Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 are perceived. In the sci fi community both are very well regarded. Outside of that, one is considered a flop and the other a masterpiece.
Blade Runner isn't mid-budget, and also neither are considered a flop. Neither did incredibly well but both are considered great movies.

But yes the problem of mid-budget sci-fi that isn't just run and gun action is hard to market (unfortunately). That's why I've always relied so heavily on books and anime for that kind of content.
 

Pigdango

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Blade Runner isn't mid-budget, and also neither are considered a flop. Neither did incredibly well but both are considered great movies.

But yes the problem of mid-budget sci-fi that isn't just run and gun action is hard to market (unfortunately). That's why I've always relied so heavily on books and anime for that kind of content.
Blade Runner should have been mid budget was the point I was trying to make. They spent the money because they had the money, but Villanueve has done much more with far less and could have delivered the same movie with half the budget. And yes it’s very much considered a flop. It’s the very definition of one. Not based on the quality, but based on the financial return.

Arrival actually made less than Blade Runner worldwide but was considered a huge hit because it was budgeted properly for what it was. I get that they may have been thinking franchise for BR, but aside from that goofy rebel robot team that shows up, the movie doesn’t really play like a franchise starter, what with the main character dying and all.
 

Radioguy

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Blade Runner should have been mid budget was the point I was trying to make. They spent the money because they had the money, but Villanueve has done much more with far less and could have delivered the same movie with half the budget. And yes it’s very much considered a flop. It’s the very definition of one. Not based on the quality, but based on the financial return.
That latter clarification should preface your categorization. "Financial flop" often implies critical success. One can't argue with box office takings, but don't paint with a broad bush and smear it.

I get that they may have been thinking franchise for BR, but aside from that goofy rebel robot team that shows up, the movie doesn’t really play like a franchise starter, what with the main character dying and all.
So, if someone gets shot, they're dead? They ought to tell the trauma wards. Imagine the reduction in inner-city health care costs.