A little over a week ago, it was reported that Angelina Jolie had passed a second time on the lead female role in Alfonso Cuaron’s planned 3D space survival thriller Gravity, which already had attached Robert Downey Jr. cast in a supporting role. Despite recent rumors of Rachel Weisz being offered the part after other potential candidates like Blake Lively and Scarlett Johansson were nixed, word now comes from The Hollywood Reporter that Natalie Portman has been offered the part, having earned buzz out of Venice and Telluride for her performance in Darren Aronofsky’s thriller Black Swan.
With a reported budget of $80 million, the film focuses on a female astronaut sent out to fix the Hubble telescope who is the sole survivor left stranded after space junk hits her transport, so she must fight her way back to earth. Cuaron clearly needed a strong dramatic actress who could also be considered a box office draw in order to justify the budget.
Portman still has to read the script and make her decision but she is currently the director’s first choice, and whomever ends up in the role, Gravity is slated to start filming in England at the end of January.
The article goes on to say that director Terrence Malick wants Portman to star in his Jerry Lee Lewis project, being produced with Brad Pitt, while screenwriter Tom Stoppard is also writing something for Portman. It’s hard to think that an actress whose early career included George Lucas’ “Star Wars” prequels may be attaining another level in that career, but with early buzz that Portman may receive her second Oscar nomination for Black Swan, she’s clearly in demand right now.