Natalie Portman Circling Director Alex Garland’s Sophomore Effort ‘Annihilation’!

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Alex Garland’s Ex Machina was a great film and front runner right now for my top movie of the year. He showed that you can do sci-fi in a totally non sci-fi way and really make it work. His next project looks to be more of the same, from the visionary filmmaker.

Garland is on tap to write and direct an adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s horror / science fiction novel Annihilation. The book has been described as unusual and unsettling – sci-fi with a twist of H.P. Lovecraft.

It takes place in a space called Area X, which has been walled off from civilization and where some of the natural laws don’t quite behave like they’re supposed to. Quite a few expeditions have been sent into Area X to study it; the book picks up at the start of the twelfth expedition, with four female explorers set to find out what they can about the mysterious space.

Variety is reporting that Natalie Portman is in talks to play the lead character and narrator of the novel, the Biologist. The other three characters are simply called the Psychologist, the Surveyor and the Anthropologist. Portman would reportedly need the shoot to hold off until 2016 for this deal to be feasible, though as she has other projects she’s currently involved in.

Other than a few other smaller characters, this film is all about these four women. Garland proved in Ex Machina that you don’t need a huge cast to make a succesful sci-fi flick. A project like this is where Garland would truly shine and definitely sounds like it would be a strong second effort for him as a director.

Rumors are swirling that Tilda Swinton and Julianne Moore are possibly in the running for two of the other supporting roles in the film. With a possible star studded cast and some original source material, Garland may just take the top spot on my movie list again if this film turns out anything like his first one.