Natalie Portman lined up for Alex Garland's Ex Machina follow-up

The Oscar-winning Black Swan star is in talks to star in the post-apocalyptic horror film Annihilation

Artificial intelligence thriller Ex Machina made a solid, if unspectacular, £2.4m on release in the UK in January, but it’s proved a surprise sleeper hit in the US.

A limited release brought in such impressive numbers that the film is now heading for a wide, 2,000-plus screen expansion this weekend, having already notched up $12m. Alex Garland, the film’s writer and director, is now assembling his next project and he’s lined up Oscar-winner Natalie Portman for the lead.

According to Variety, Portman, who won the best actress Oscar in 2011 for her role as an unravelling ballerina in Black Swan, is in negotiations to star in Annihilation, a post-apocalyptic horror.

The film is based on a book by Jeff VanderMeer, which was published in February this year as the first in a trilogy.

Portman would be taking on the role of a biologist who leads an expedition to an area cut off from civilisation. While searching for her missing husband, she must deal with a contamination that threatens her safety.

She is yet to officially sign on, but sources suggest that, if she does, she will be paired with another female actor, possibly either Julianne Moore or Tilda Swinton.

Portman will next be seen in Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, western Jane Got a Gun and In Love and Darkness, her directorial debut, which will premiere at this month’s Cannes film festival.


Benjamin Lee

The GuardianTramp

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