Alex Garland‘s upcoming A24 blockbuster “Civil War” is the biggest undertaking of his career — and seems destined to become the most controversial entry in his filmography. The film, which imagines a world where political polarization causes the United States to fracture and fight a second civil war with modern military weapons, provoked strong responses after premiering at SXSW 2024. Some praised it as a generation-defining war epic on par with “Apocalypse Now,” while others felt that its politically neutral approach discredited Garland’s ideas.

But regardless of how the film is ultimately received, Garland thinks it might be his last film as a director. In a new interview with The Guardian, the filmmaker reiterated previous claims that he might retire from filmmaking and said he had no plans to direct another movie after “Civil War.”

“Nothing’s changed,” he said when asked about previous claims that he was open to retiring from filmmaking. “I’m in a very similar state. 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.”

Garland said that he still plans to be active as a screenwriter — he’s also co-directing his “Civil War” military advisor Ray Mendoza’s directorial debut, though he insisted it’s a hands-off role — but that his anxiety about the challenges of working with actors and crew members have turned him off from the process of making movies.

“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,” Garland said, citing his frustrations with excessive VFX and concerns that his careful treatment of intimate scenes in “Ex Machina” is not an industry norm. “Alicia [Vikander] and Sonoya [Mizuno] are trusting that nudity is going to be dealt with thoughtfully and respectfully… Cinema leans toward not doing that.”

A24 will release “Civil War” in theaters on Friday, April 12.

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