Alicia Vikander in "Ex Machina" ©Universal Pictures

Alicia Vikander in “Ex Machina”
©Universal Pictures

(Relaxnews) – Alex Garland makes his directorial debut with AI thriller “Ex Machina,” launching in the US on April 10. We chart his career path as a novelist, screenwriter, producer, and even video game consultant.

Bursting onto the scene with a searing first novel, 1996’s “The Beach” established Garland as a force in contemporary fiction.

He followed up two years later with “The Tesseract” before, in 2000, seeing Danny Boyle’s version of “The Beach” debut in cinemas with heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio as lead and Tilda Swinton co-starring.

That relationship with Boyle continued when he wrote “28 Days Later,” a film which made Cillian Murphy a star, the Irish actor having worked with Paloma Baeza, now Garland’s wife.

The Boyle, Murphy and Garland trifecta returned for 2007’s “Sunshine, ” but in between that and “28 Days..” he kept his hand in novel writing with “The Coma” and begun to diversify by supplying a film treatment for video game “Halo.”

That interest in video games led him to Ninja Theory, a UK studio celebrated for early PlayStation 3 release “Heavenly Sword,” where he would work with Andy Serkis on “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West,” adapting its storyline from a legendary Chinese tale.

But his input extended beyond writing duties, its Creative Director told a conference audience in 2010; filmmaking experience gave context to numerous suggestions that created a more cohesive and believable experience; the pair would work together again on 2013’s “DmC: Devil May Cry.”

Other moves made him known as not just a writer but a producer too. With new blood coming in for “28 Weeks Later” he executive produced, then adapted and produced Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go,” repeating the dual role on 2012’s “Dredd.”

Another executive producer’s role came on Samuel L. Jackson action movie “Big Game,” which is heading for a May 2015 release in much of Europe and June 26 debut in the States.

And just as award-winning “Big Game” creative Jalmari Helander wrote and directed his own movie, Garland’s been doing the same with AI thriller “Ex Machina,” with Domnhall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac and Sonoya Mizuno in the lead roles.

Well-received following earlier 2015 releases in a selection of European territories and at the SXSW Film Festival in March, a US release for “Ex Machina” arrives in advance of a wider global roll-out for Garland’s tense sci-fi story.