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Natalie Portman Interview: Annihilation

Screen Rant recently sat down with Natalie Portman to discuss her new film Annihilation, based on the Southern Reach book trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer, directed by Alex Garland. Portman discusses what drew her to the film, the importance of well written female characters in cinema, and briefly touches on the prospect to returning to the Marvel Universe as Jane Foster.

Screen Rant: First of all I love this movie. . .

Natalie Portman: Thank you.

Screen Rant: And I like the fact that it actually challenged me to think about the film, my whole way, as I was driving home.

Natalie Portman: Thank you.

Screen Rant: You have done sci-fi films in the past with Star Wars and Thor, what is it about Alex Garland's work that inspired you to want to take on this film?

Natalie Portman: Well I'm such a big fan of Alex Garland, of his writing and his directing and so I was just excited to get to work with him and interact with him and then the script was just unlike anything I had ever read before. It really does make you think about so many things and makes connections between different ideas that I hadn't made myself. . . and then also has all these women in the lead roles which you just never see on film and it's such a simple thing but it feels so radical.

Screen Rant: Yeah, and one thing I love about this film too, is that there are strong female characters in it that are defined by their gender but more by their capabilities.

Natalie Portman: Right.

Screen Rant: What do you think that means for this day and age especially this like historic crucial point in time?

Natalie Portman: Well I feel like. . .just having more than one woman in the room like, if you're the only woman at work then you're the woman.

Screen Rant: Sure.

Natalie Portman: But, if there is a bunch of you then you're defined by your personality and your talent and your, you know, what you have to offer, your ideas. And I think that goes for everything, you know, whether it's your sexual orientation or your race or your gender or your physical ability, it's like if you're the one in the room then you're representing like your whole group that someone classified you in that you didn't put yourself in there…

Screen Rant: Exactly.

Natalie Portman: And if there's many of you in the room then you just get to be a person.

Screen Rant: Right.

Natalie Portman: And that's what we're all wanting.

Screen Rant: Exactly.

Natalie Portman: Just to be treated like the person not a representative of some false classification system.

Screen Rant: You know, what theme of the film did you most identify with personally?

Natalie Portman: Well I thought it was really interesting this notion that we're all self-destructive and that that's even built into our genes. Like our cells are built to self-destruct and what does that mean and it might not be malicious it's not like there's something against us, but it's just part of the way things are.

Screen Rant: Right, a lot of our fans want to know, a little off subject, a lot of our fans want to know, Marvel just – Marvel Studios just celebrated their tenth anniversary. . .

Natalie Portman: Yes

Screen Rant: Any chance you’d want to reprise your role of Jane Foster at all?

Natalie Portman: I'm completely open to everything, but I have no like news about that.

Screen Rant: Sure. This is obviously the first part of a book series which is Authority and I think it's Acceptance, any chance that you'd be wanting to come back for the other two parts?

Natalie Portman: I think the books are incredible. Jeff VanderMeer is an incredible writer and it's a really different experience of reading the book and seeing movie. . .

Screen Rant: Oh, absolutely.

Natalie Portman: I don't think it's one of. . . it's worth doing both and you're not going to miss out on either experience or like relive the experience, they're very very different. I don't know we’ll see, there's no plans in the works right now to make the others.

MORE: Read Screen Rant's Annihilation Review

Key Release Dates
  • Annihilation (2018) release date: Feb 23, 2018
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