Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac star in esteemed screenwriter Alex Garland’s directorial debut, Ex Machina, a sci-fi story with natural and artificial intelligence at its core.

Alicia Vikander & Oscar Isaac On ‘Ex-Machina’

In Ex Machina, Isaac plays Nathan, a tech genius who has holed himself up in a remote residence where he’s testing out A.I. designs – of which Vikander plays the most intelligent, Ava. Arriving at the retreat to test Ava is one of Nathan’s employees Caleb, who is played by British actor Domhnall Gleeson.

“It’s very rare to have an intelligent sci-fi action thriller,” Vikander told uInterview in an exclusive interview. “I did feel all of those, those fears trying to find out the plot; you didn’t know what character to follow or trust. And still it’s only three people, in one very contained space.”

Isaac, speaking of Garland’s script for Ex Machina, added, “It was just great. The way it was constructed, the way that it all flows together and really the dialogue. The fact that the action sequences in the film are these moments when these people are torturing each other with their brains; it’s pushed by the dialogue.”

While the dialogue is at the center of the film propelling the narrative forward, for Vikander, the role was also rather physical. Clad in a futuristic bodysuit, Vikander had to move as though she wasn’t quite human. Without a rigid idea for how this particular robot would look in motion, Vikander had to explore it on her own.

“It was a lot of physical preparations to find the way she moves and the way she talks and creating something that isn’t human – which is normally, at least, what I know about the characters that I‘ve taken on before,” Vikander explained. “It was a lot of fun.”

Isaac had his own fun on the set of Ex Machina while shooting a scene in which he completes a choreographed dance with another A.I., Kyoko. “Delicious. Sweaty and delicious,” Isaac said, recalling the day on set. “And, it was actually twice as long, but I think they cut it down to the perfect size in the film.”

Ex Machina is currently in limited release.

 

Read more about:

Leave a comment


Q: Who are your characters at the start of the film? -

OI: I play Nathan, who is the SEO of this Google-like company and he’s in his retreat. No one has seen him for many many years and one of his employees wins a lottery to come spend the week with him, and when he arrives, he finds out that he’s there to test this guy’s latest invention, which is this robot in the shape of Alicia Vikander, that may or may not have self awareness; consciousness. So, at the outset you’re meeting the three of us in this scenario; ostensibly for a test.

AV: And Caleb (Domnhall Gleeson) is brought into this room where Ava, the robot, has been kept since the day she was made or born. And then it’s the thriller, the story between those three characters and their very different intentions.

Q: What preparation goes into playing an A.I.? -

OI: It was a lot of physical preparations to find the way she moves and the way she talks and creating something that isn't human – which is normally, at least, what I know about the characters that I‘ve taken on before. It was a lot of fun. We don’t really know. Nathan is the only one who really knows how Eva was made, but I saw a lot of pictures and I kind of got an idea of what the special effects guys had created for her to look like and I knew I had that body shape and I was going to be in this suit. So I worked from that.

Q: What were your initial reactions to reading Alex Garland’s script? -

OI: I thought it was just great. The way it was constructed, the way that it all flows together and really the dialogue. The fact that the action sequences in the film are these moments when these people are torturing each other with their brains; it’s pushed by the dialogue.

AV: It’s very rare to have an intelligent sci-fi action thriller, which is kind of, like you said, it only comes out of...I did feel all of those, those fears that tried to find out the plot didn't know what character to follow or trust. And still it’s only three people, in one very contained space.

OI: And it’s funny too. The humor and his wit that Alex wrote into it was great.

Q: How was working with Garland in his directing debut? -

AV: Well, I wouldn’t say he steps on with such calmness and confidence knowing exactly the ideas of this vision. This film, he had in his head, and he was still being extremely open to letting us try whatever we wanted. All those things don’t, in my head, go along with being a first time director.

OI: Yeah, he was incredibly collaborative, but also knew exactly what he wanted to do with a very tight budget. So it was great.

Q: How was shooting the dance scene in the film? -

OI: Delicious. Sweaty and delicious. And, it was actually twice as long, but I think they cut it down to the perfect size in the film. So we had to spend a lot of time figuring it out, and learning it and so that was good.