Natalie Portman may save Alfonso Cuaron's sci-fi film Gravity

Last week it looked like Angelina Jolie may have killed Gravity, the new 3-D sci-fi film from Children of Men director Alfonso Cuaron. This week the rumor is that the movie -- which is supposedly like Cast Away but set in space -- might be back in business with Natalie Portman taking over the role intended for Jolie.

The Hollywood Reporter says that the actress, who got rave reviews at the Venice and Telluride film festivals for her work in Darren Aronofsky's psychological (and possibly supernatural) thriller Black Swan, was offered the lead in Gravity without even doing the usually obligatory screen test because of the buzz around her. The site says that Portman was sent the script to read over the weekend and will make a decision soon.

Portman has become a bit of a go-to actor for female science fiction roles after playing Padmé Amidala in the three Star Wars prequels. She also starred in V for Vendetta with a shaved head (people can definitely draw comparisons to Ripley's look in Alien 3 here -- another strong sci-fi female character) and is playing Jane Foster in next year's Thor movie, as well as Elizabeth Bennet in the upcoming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

If she accepts the role, she'll star alongside Robert Downey Jr., who has already signed on to the movie. Filming would commence at the end of January of next year, for a release date set somewhere in 2012.

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