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Natalie Portman sticks her head in an alligator's mouth for Annihilation

Annihilation

EX MACHINA director Alex Garland's new film ANNIHILATION is set to be released on February 23, 2018, and with that date less than five months away Entertainment Weekly has shared a "first look" image from the movie that shows star Natalie Portman's scientist character doing something both scientific and rather dangerous.

Based on a novel by Jeff VanDerMeer, ANNIHILATION tells the following story: 

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, we join the twelfth expedition.

The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers―they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding ― but it's the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

Portman's co-stars include Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tuva Novotny, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac.

So why is Portman sticking her head and hands in an alligator's mouth in the image below? As Garland explains, this creature is encountered in the "very strange, dream-like, surrealist landscape" of Area X and it's 

their first tangible encounter with something strange. 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 VanDerMeer's novel is the first in a trilogy, Garland promises the movie won't feel like it's just building toward sequels: 

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."

ANNIHILATION sounds like it will be a strange and interesting film. I look forward to checking it out, like Portman is checking out this alligator here.

Extra Tidbit: Are you interested in ANNIHILATION?
Source: EW.com

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