Oh, and Julianne Moore.

Screenwriter/novelist Alex Garland has been working in the industry for a long time, collaborating on great films such as 28 Days Later and Sunshine, but now that his directorial debut Ex Machina (one of my favorite films so far this year) turned out to be a critical and financial success we should start seeing a lot more of him.

It appears, though, we’re going to be seeing him quite soon as high-caliber actresses are already circling roles in his upcoming adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s environmental thriller, Annihilation. Variety reports that Natalie Portman is in talks for the leading role of Biologist (I guess the characters are only known by their scientific professions?), with Tilda Swinton and Julianne Moore both looking at co-starring roles dependent on Portman’s deal working out.

I haven’t read Annihilation so to figure out what it is Garland sees in it I had to look up the book synopsis (per Barnes and Noble) and holy shit, this sounds perfect for him:

“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, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, 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 anotioner, 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.”

In traditional Garland fashion he’s found another story that allows him to place human beings in an enclosed space, tighten the screws and see what happens (i.e. 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Ex Machina). But this does sound really good. And I like the idea of having four smart women doing smart things together, even if it ends horrifically, which I imagine it does. Besides, if this caliber of female talent are reading for roles it must be good.

What do you guys think of this?