The Ex Machina director's adaptation of this eerie sci-fi/horror novel just keeps getting better.
The Wrap reports that Jennifer Jason Leigh is in talks to join the cast of Annihilation, which Garland has written and will direct from Jeff VanderMeer's novel. Leigh is the fourth woman to join the so far all-female cast, which has already locked down Natalie Portman (Thor, Black Swan), Tessa Thompson (who made a great impression on audiences in Creed) and Gina Rodriguez of Jane the Virgin fame.
The story -- the first in VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy (see the covers of a recent UK edition above) -- revolves around a team of four women who are sent into "Area X," a mysterious zone that has appeared on a stretch of North American coastline where strange things occur and grow and where the laws of nature are bent or outright ignored. A previous series of expeditions going back over many years have ended in death and disaster for the explorers, while the origin and purpose of "Area X" remains unknown.
The team in Annihilation consists of (all unnamed) a biologist, a surveyor, an anthropologist and a psychologist who is also the leader of the group. With Portman presumably playing the biologist -- she is the main character in the book through whose eyes the story is told -- Slashfilm is probably right to assume that Leigh would play the psychologist, a more experienced woman who may also have a secret agenda of her own.
Leigh is coming off acclaimed performances in the animated Anomalisa (where she provided the voice of the female lead) and Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, and is also allegedly going to show up in David Lynch's third season of Twin Peaks. Annihilation would be a tremendous addition to the hot streak she's on.
Garland is coming off his brilliant directorial debut, Ex Machina, and has also shown a real knack for adapting difficult material like Dredd and Never Let Me Go, while also penning great original screenplays for Sunshine and 28 Days Later. Annihilation is not the easiest book to translate to the screen, but the right man is sure on the job.
Regular Blastr readers know that the book has some devoted fans around these parts, so it goes without saying that the addition of Leigh makes this adaptation even more highly anticipated. Annihilation is tentatively going to begin shooting later this year for release in 2017.