SXSW Interview: Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson & Writer-Director Alex Garland On ‘EX MACHINA’


EX-Machina-Movie-2015Preston Barta // Editor

Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson (both to appear in J.J. Abram’s STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS later this year) star in the thrilling story of a quest to prove the emotional intelligence of a robot. While there are other films this year tackling this very subject, such as CHAPPIE and AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, I’m willing to bet none of them will be as raw and realistic as EX MACHINA.

One of the reasons why this is so is because of writer-director Alex Garland, who is mostly known for his script work for 28 DAYS LATER and SUNSHINE. Now, the filmmaker takes his talents behind the camera in his directorial debut, and what a debut it is. You’ll think you’ve experienced true art, but then you’ll see EX MACHINA— a game changing film, not only of the genre, but of film itself.

The film follows Domhnall Gleeson (FRANK) as a programmer hired to perform a Turing test on Ava (an exceptional Alicia Vikander), a lifelike A.I. created by a reclusive genius played by the scene-stealing Oscar Isaac (INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS).

Fresh Fiction had the opportunity to speak with Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alex Garland on the red carpet for the film’s North American premiere at South by Southwest. We discussed the film’s inspiration and finding light in the darkness– metaphorically speaking that is.

EX MACHINA will screen again at SXSW on Friday, Mar. 20 at the Topfer Theatre at ZACH in Austin, TX. The film will open in theaters everywhere on Apr. 10.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.