Portman carries out ‘Vendetta’

Thesp goes to work for the Wachowskis

Hot off a Golden Globe nom for her work in “Closer,” Natalie Portman is in final negotiations to topline the Wachowski brothers’ “V Is for Vendetta,” for Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver.

An adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novel of the same name, action-heavy script was penned by the “Matrix” scribes. Their longtime first assistant director James McTeigue will make his helming debut on the pic. The Wachowskis will produce “Vendetta” with Warners-based Silver.

“Vendetta” takes place in an alternate future in which Germany wins WWII and Great Britain becomes a fascist state. A terrorist freedom fighter known only as “V” begins a violent guerrilla campaign to destroy those who’ve succumbed to totalitarianism, and recruits a young woman he’s rescued — or possibly kidnapped –from the secret police to join him.

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McTeigue recently wrapped duties as first a.d. on “Star Wars — Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” where he worked closely with Portman. Actress also recently starred in the critically acclaimed “Garden State” for Fox Searchlight and Miramax.

Before “Vendetta” can start shooting in Berlin, Portman will first need to wrap up her work on”Free Zone,” from Israeli helmer Amos Gitai (“11’09″01 — September 11”). But insiders familiar with the studio’s plans say the first week of March has already been carved out to start production, with a fall 2005 release planned.