Writer and director of Ex_ Machina
Was it difficult to find a location suitable for Nathan’s idyllic home?
It was, and we only found it late in the day. We didn’t have a lot of money to play with so we began looking around the Alps, but the Alps is quite chocolate- boxy. That led us to Norway and eventually we found this amazing valley. We were really lucky. Some of the other locations we were looking at... I think the film would have suffered. What drew you to the lead trio of actors?
I knew Domhnall very well from Never Let Me Go and Dredd. I didn’t know Oscar and Alicia, but it didn’t feel like a big leap of faith. They have something in common because they’re both actors that really vanish. The Alicia that you see in A Royal Affair is fundamentally different from Ava and the Oscar from Inside Llewellyn Davis is completely different from Nathan. How much of Ava is visual effects?
It depends shot by shot, but broadly speaking: hands, feet and face are practical, and increasingly everything else got swapped out. The visual effects were run by this guy called Andrew Whitehurst. What he and his team at Double Negative did was pretty remarkable. They were intent on supporting the film against all reason, really. I couldn’t have asked for more from them. The film rests massively on the shoulders of the actors, but hugely on that effects team. If they’d fucked that up none of it would have worked. Jordan Farley