With the exception of the much sought-after lead role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo remake (which ultimately went to relative newcomer Rooney Mara), the lead female role in Alfonso Cuarón’s $80 million sci-fi thriller Gravity has been one of the most desired female roles in recent memory.

Angelina Jolie was originally attached to star in the film but Jolie recently dropped out in order to work on her directorial debut. Soon after her unfortunate departure the studio began frantically looking for another actress to replace her, but finding one with the same box office draw as Jolie was going to be a tough challenge indeed.

Many actresses were considered, including Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively (those two apparently went head-to-head for the role not long ago), Sandra Bullock, Marion Cotillard and Naomi Watts (to name but a few) but the studio has finally found who they want to replace Jolie: Natalie Portman.

Risky Business reports that as a result of her performance in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (both her and the film are already gaining major Oscar buzz), Warner Bros. gave the okay to Cuarón to send out an offer out to Portman for Gravity, without her even screen testing (wow). Portman will reportedly take a look at the latest draft of the script this week and make her decision soon thereafter.

I think she’d be wise to accept the role because of how sought-after it is, who the director is (Cuarón is one of the best working today) and the fact that it gives her the chance to show off more of her acting talent, considering the film focuses a lot on the main character, in the same style as Cast Away or Danny Boyle’s upcoming 127 Hours.

Gravity centers (no pun) on a woman stranded on a space station after satellite debris smashes into it and kills the rest of her crew. Robert Downey Jr. is already attached to one of the supporting roles. Interestingly, the film is supposed to be 60% CGI (mixing that with live-action, a la Avatar) and the opening shot is supposed to be one fluid shot that lasts around 20 minutes (in the same vein as the scene towards the end of Cuarón’s Children of Men).

The question now remains: can Portman draw audiences in the way that Jolie could? I honestly don’t think so and evidently neither does the studio considering the fact that Portman would get about half the paycheck that Jolie would have snagged for the same role (and that’s Portman getting a bump in her salary). That’s not a knock on Portman as an actress – it’s just a commentary on the fact that Jolie is one of those rare sure-fire bankable actresses and Portman isn’t.

However, that’s not to say that Portman is a deterrent for movie goers to lay down their cash to see Gravity, another in a long-line of 3D movies. Above all, Portman is a very talented actress and she can certainly handle the “one woman show” type acting that Gravity appears to demand.

Check back at Screen Rant to find out if Portman accepts the offer.

Gravity will shoot at the end of January next year and already has release date of December 1st, 2011.

Source: Risky Business