Natalie Portman not showing up in the next Thor movie, Thor: Ragnarok, is not news. (Neither is the addition of Tessa Thompson to the cast in her absence.) We’ve known that for a few months now. The explanation for Portman’s absence hasn’t be fully revealed yet, though, and that’s something Marvel Grand Poobah Kevin Feige got into a little bit during his recent appearance on the Empire Film Podcast.
The Thor franchise never quite did right by Natalie Portman.
What sounds better than a new movie from ‘Ex Machina’ filmmaker Alex Garland? How about a sci-fi movie about four women played by Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson (‘Creed’), Gina Rodriguez (‘Jane the Virgin’) and Jennifer Jason Leigh? Now let me raise you with one more addition: Oscar Isaac. If that news doesn’t have you doing the Oscar Isaac ‘Ex Machina’ dance, nothing will.
In a deck of tarot cards, the Knight of Cups can signal two sides in need of balance. The armored knight atop a white horse can be a sensitive man, though one controlled by his temperamental emotions. He can be imaginative, though a dreamer distracted by fantasy, a romantic, but selfish with desires for stimulation. When the card appears in the reverse in a reading, it can signify a life struggling in transition, and a descent toward recklessness or disappointment. So is the journey of Christian Bale’s Rick, a disenchanted Hollywood screenwriter in Terrence Malick‘s ‘Knight of Cups,’ a knight trotting through a haze who seeks realization after he’s grown weary by the artifice that surrounds him.
Alex Garland’s follow-up to Ex Machina just keeps getting better and better with each new casting addition. The female-centric cast of Annihilation already includes Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez and Tessa Thompson, all on board for Garland’s next sci-fi project. And it appears they may have some very cool new company, as The Hateful Eight star Jennifer Jason Leigh is in talks to join them.
One of the most hotly anticipated films on the docket for this year is Dolan’s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, the filmmaker’s first foray into English-language scripting and his first collaboration with Hollywood A-listers. Another round of casting has brought even more wattage into this buzzy production, with Natalie Portman, Nicholas Hoult, and The Slap’s Thandie Newton all joining the cast in unspecified roles.
Ex Machina writer / director Alex Garland seems to be going for the one-two punch (sorry) with Annihilation, his next sci-fi project which already boasts Natalie Portman and Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez in leading roles. And as if we couldn't get any more excited for Garland's next film, the director is currently eyeing Creed star Tessa Thompson, who was so great in Ryan Coogler's Rocky sequel that she could headline her own spinoff (or at least make a full album, in character).
Natalie Portman has some interesting projects on the horizon, including the long-delayed Jane Got a Gun and Jackie, the latter of which has revealed its first official photo featuring the actress as former First Lady and widow of President John F. Kennedy. It looks about as you’d expect, though Portman does make for quite the lovely leading (first) lady.
After suffering delays, director changes, casting changes, more delays and a studio bankruptcy, Jane Got a Gun is finally coming to theaters. Natalie Portman stars in the new western as a desperate woman who seeks the aid of an old boyfriend to help defend her homestead from the men who previously held her captive. The latest trailer for the film doesn’t do it much favors, between the generic heavy rock music and the generic DTV action flick font — but the actual footage still looks enticing, at the very least.
After a writing a string of successful genre screenplays for other directors, Alex Garland broke out on his own year, making his directorial debut with the exquisite sci-fi Ex Machina. His next directing project is Annihilation, with Garland reportedly eyeing another of this year’s major breakout talents to join Natalie Portman in the new sci-fi film: Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez.