Annihilation Swamp Thing Hero

Exclusive: Annihilation director Alex Garland weighs in on how Alan Moore's Swamp Thing inspired the film's look

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May 22, 2018, 10:20 AM EDT

Earlier this year, director Alex Garland unleashed his mind-bending adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation, which was one of the most challenging sci-fi thrillers in years. The film starred Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, and Tuva Novotny as a team of scientists who ventured into a territory that was wildly transformed by an enigmatic and otherworldly phenomenon known as "the Shimmer." But for Portman’s character, Lena, the investigation had a personal stake as she attempted to discover what had become of her husband, Kane (Oscar Isaac). 

Ahead of Annihilation’s digital release, we’ve got an exclusive clip of Garland explaining that he doesn’t know for sure which influences VanderMeer drew from when writing the novel. However, Garland shares his belief that the story was influenced by Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing for DC. 

Moore is widely celebrated as one of the best comic book writers of all time for his cerebral stories, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell, all of which have been adapted into movies. But in the early ‘80s, Moore made his name on The Saga of the Swamp Thing for his experimental take on the title character. Moore also infused the monstrous hero with elements of horror and fantasy.

In the clip, Garland specifically cites “the frozen statue figures” from Annihilation as his visual nod to Moore’s seminal take on Swamp Thing. However, the connection between Annihilation and Swamp Thing may go even deeper than that. The main characters in Annihilation are forced to question their reality and even their own identities. Moore’s Swamp Thing explored a similar theme when the writer revealed that Dr. Alec Holland was never transformed into a plant creature. Instead, Swamp Thing was a plant creature who believed he was Holland because he shared the mind and memories of a dead man. 
Annihilation is out now on Digital HD, and it will hit Blu-ray and DVD on May 29.