Actress Natalie Portman is in early talks to star in Ex Machina director Alex Garland's new sci-fi project entitled Annihilation. We first reported on Annihilation back in October, when Alex Garland signed on to write and direct this adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's novel. The deal is dependent on production starting in early 2016, and it is believed that both sides will come to an agreement on the starting date very soon.

The story centers on a team of four scientists who embark on an expedition to explore a bizarre place known only as Area X, which is cut off from all civilization. There have been 12 previous expeditions to Area X, with the story centering on a biologist (Natalie Portman) who goes on this latest trek to find out the truth about why her husband disappeared. Many of the other trips to Area X resulted in team members committing suicide, becoming mentally ill, or stricken with cancer.

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Other actresses such as Julianne Moore and Tilda Swinton are being eyed to play Natalie Portman's co-star, but the studio won't consider anyone until Natalie Portman's deal is finalized. Scott Rudin is producing, with Alex Garland directing from his own adapted screenplay. Natalie Portman recently made her directorial debut with A Tale of Love and Darkness, which the actress/filmmaker will be taking to Cannes next week. She also stars in the upcoming Jane Got a Gun, which hits theaters this September.