Back in October, word first broke about the Wachowski siblings‘s upcoming sci-fi epic, Jupiter Ascending. It’s apparently the next project they’ll work on after they finish up their adaptation of Cloud Atlas, and while not much is known about the specifics, it’s said to be a concept with serious franchise potential.

As everyone knows, the best way to launch a franchise is to cast big actors in your lead roles. You can come up with all of the revolutionary ideas and breakthrough filmmaking techniques in the world and there is no guarantee that anyone will ever see what you’ve done, but if you stick Will Smith in the middle of all your hard work, success is pretty much a guarantee. To that end, the Wachowskis want to start their casting process off by locking up Natalie Portman.

According to a report from 24 Frames, the Black Swan actress is being actively recruited by the Wachowskis’s people, and so far she’s shown quite a bit of interest in taking the role. The big potential of this casting is that this would be the first acting job Portman would be taking after her gigantic, career-making Oscar win for her work in Black Swan. A new baby forced her into a sort of acting hiatus, and this would be her first chance to follow up the great work she did in that film.

One has to wonder if the shine will still be on Portman as an actress so long after her win, however. Most mainstream audiences might not even know that she took a break from acting, because over the course of the past year she has had pre-pregnancy performances hit theaters in films like Thor, Your Highness, and No Strings Attached, none of which went very far toward impressing anybody. Might the film-going world have already given up on the idea of Black Swan being a big career turning point for the actress? And does Portman’s Oscar even speak to any inherent quality in the Wachowskis’ script anyway? She was perfectly fine making boatloads of crappy movies before her Oscar win, who’s to say that she’s being more choosy about which roles she takes now?

Either way, I’m sure it’s exciting news for quite a few people to hear that the Wachowskis are diving back into the deep end of the science fiction pool and coming out with some new movies. Despite some disappointments that came after, The Matrix is still a watershed release that inspired a generation of film fans.

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