As elegant sci-fi thriller, Ex Machina plays at cinemas to critical acclaim, screenwriter, film director and novelist Alex Garland speaks to Elen Lewis about Ballard’s ‘Empire of the Sun’ and how writing starts hard and stays hard.
Which fictional character do you most identify with?
Jamie – from Ballard’s Empire of the Sun.
What advice would you give your 17-year-old self?
Almost none of the stuff that worries you is important.
How did your novel writing inform your screenplay writing?
It gave me a disrespect of film directors that disrespect screenwriters.
What do people get wrong about you?
What should all young writers know?
It starts hard, and stays hard. The anxiety never goes. It always starts with blank pages. There may be better ways to spend a life, but if you’re a writer, you may not have a choice.
In terms of inspirations… What is your favourite word? Book? Film? Writer? Place? Piece of music?
Book: Smiley’s People
Piece of music: Future Days, by Can
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