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Is Natalie Portman Headed to Space With Alfonso Cuarón?

It pays to (allegedly) give the performance of your career! Owing to strong buzz out of Venice and Telluride (here's A.O. Scott with more) for her work in Darren Aronofsky's winged-ballerina thriller Black Swan, Natalie Portman has been offered the much-coveted lead role in Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity, in which a first-time astronaut is stranded alone aboard a space station during a deadly debris storm. Angelina Jolie passed on the part twice, and Cuarón has flirted with casting Blake Lively or Scarlett Johansson, but based on glowing reviews for Swan, Warner Bros. has given the director the green light to hire Portman without a screen test (bonus: She works way cheaper than Jolie). She'll read the most recent draft of the screenplay this week, says The Hollywood Reporter's Risky Business blog, and make her decision shortly.

Natalie Portman offered lead in Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Gravity’ (exclusive) [Risky Business/HR]

Photo: Getty Images