Natalie Portman Circles ‘Ex Machina’ Director’s Next Sci-Fi Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

“Ex Machina” director Alex Garland looks to have found the star of his next sci-fi film, “Annihilation.”

Sources tell Variety that Natalie Portman is in early talks to star in the adaptation of the Jeff VanderMeer novel for Garland and Paramount Pictures. Scott Rudin is producing.

Garland will write and direct the pic that follows a biologist who signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply. Paramount had no comment.

The deal is dependent on production starting no sooner than the beginning of 2016, but sources say it seems like the two sides will settle on a start date soon.

Given the critical and commercial success of “Ex Machina,” top talent are determined to find a way to work with Garland. Sources add that the role of Portman’s co-star is being chased by everyone from Julianne Moore to Tilda Swinton, but the studio won’t begin considering anyone until Portman’s deal is worked out.

Following her Oscar win for her performance in “Black Swan,” Portman has been particular in what projects she takes on. She will be in Cannes next week helping sell rights on her next directorial effort “A Tale of Love of Darkness,” which she also stars in. Early word from insiders who have seen the pic say it will not only impress buyers but critics as well.

She also has the Relativity western “Jane Got a Gun” bowing in September.

She is repped by CAA.

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