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Natalie Portman stares down an alligator's jaws in new Annihilation photo

09.26.2017

Alex Garland Annihilation

As I haven't read Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, I wasn't paying overly close attention to Alex Garland's (EX MACHINA) upcoming adaptation of the first book of that trilogy, but after listening to our own Editor-in-Chief Paul Shirey sing the praises of ANNIHILATION during CinemaCon earlier this year, I'm now completely on board. Starring Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson, ANNIHILATION finds Portman playing a scientist named Lena, who is part of an expedition which has been tasked with exploring an area which has been taken over by a mysterious force. While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, writer/director Alex Garland said that Lena "finds a very strange, dream-like, surrealist landscape, and goes deeper and deeper into that world, and also into that mindset."

EW also got their hands on a new photo from the upcoming sci-fi thriller, which finds Natalie Portman getting a little too close to a strange alligator. Watch those fingers.

"It is their first tangible encounter with something strange," said Garland. "The alligator has physical elements to it that should not belong on an alligator. They’re starting to get their heads around how weird the place is." Although ANNIHILATION is based upon the first book in a trilogy, the others being "Authority" and "Acceptance", Alex Garland said that he's treating this film as a standalone movie.

I did once work on a film called Dredd, which I imagined to be the first part of a trilogy. But it’s not something I like doing. I’d rather work on a story that I felt was self-contained rather than one that sort of had a ‘dot-dot-dot’ at the end. I think that provokes a sort of instant, understandable, cynicism. We sense the money grab and I feel that pollutes the story. So, right from the get-go, I did not think of this as being part of a trilogy; I thought of it as being just a single, self-contained movie. If other people wanted to do that, that would be fine. That’s none of my business. But from my point of view, it’s just one.

ANNIHILATION is set to hit theaters on February 23, 2018.

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