Even though it is far from a sure thing, Paramount and Ex Machina director Alex Garland are hoping Natalie Portman will take part in Annihilation, the Scott Rudin-produced sci-fi novel by Jeff VanderMeer about a female expedition sent to a cordoned off forest, after previous attempts to explore ended with disastrous results.

I asked Garland just yesterday–in a piece about Ex Machina expanding to 2000 screens — about the Portman rumors. It was so tenuous, I left it out. Insiders at Paramount have been equally circumspect. These days, a conversation between studio and talent is a trade story and you just can’t hold anything. She might do the film, is what I’ve been hearing the past few weeks, but it is not a certainty.