Alex Garland Recalls Discovering Personal Computers While Researching ‘Devs’

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LONDON—Acknowledging the devices as a “huge influence” on the eight-episode television series, writer-director Alex Garland reportedly recalled Thursday discovering personal computers while researching his techno thriller Devs. “I was just planning to make a show about free will, but it took on a whole new life once I learned about personal computing, especially laptops,” said Garland, who shared an anecdote about filming a sequence in which the show’s lead character, Lily Chan, used an abacus and notebook to investigate her boyfriend’s murder, before production staff pulled him aside to recommend placing MacBooks in the scenes instead. “On the one hand, I worried that referencing computers might go way over viewers’ heads, but on the other, it made sense for a story about developers to get a bit more technical. If they’re anything like me, I’m sure fans of the show will run to their local library to find out more about computers. I did, and a librarian actually let me try out a desktop model they had right there in the reading room! I swear, they’re endlessly fascinating—you can use ’em for typing, sending electronic mail, and playing games, too. They even have little tiny ones you can make phone calls on. Who knew?” Garland went on to credit actresses Sonoya Mizuno, Alison Pill, and Siri for their invaluable contributions to the series.