Black Swan star Natalie Portman was hotter than hot coming out of last year’s Oscar season, a freshly minted Best Actress winner with one just-released film (No Strings Attached) and two more (Your Highness and Thor) lined up for the next few months. Since then, however, she’s been laying low, with no new projects on her upcoming slate. No, it wasn’t the supposed Oscar curse at work — Portman’s hiatus came courtesy of her son Aleph, who was born in June. (Damn kids.) Portman shot her last three films before her pregnancy, and has taken on no new roles since.

But now it appears Portman’s finally getting ready to head back to work, potentially with a movie every bit as gloriously bizarre as the one that won her the Oscar. Andy and Lana Wachowski reportedly want the actress for their upcoming Jupiter Ascending, and there’s a real possibility that Portman will accept.

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Matrix directors Andy and Lana Wachowski are currently busy shooting the David Mitchell adaptation Cloud Atlas (with co-director and co-writer Tom Twyker), but for their next project they’ll be returning to the kind of tentpole sci-fi that brought them so much success a few years ago. The siblings are set up to direct a mysterious film titled Jupiter Ascending for Warner Bros., and are currently looking to cast a big-name star for a spring start date. More details after the jump.

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So we know for certain now: after being relatively dormant since Speed Racer, the next film from the Wachowskis will be an adaptation of the David Mitchell novel Cloud Atlas. They’re co-writing and co-directing with Tom Tykwer, more or less as we’ve reported in the past, and Tom Hanks is officially attached to star. Warner Bros. will handle the film in the US and Focus Features International will have rights elsewhere. The idea is to pre-sell other rights at Cannes and then get down to the business of shooting the film in September. More details are after the break, if you haven’t been following along while the film was in the rumor stage. Read More »

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For seven months now, we’ve been hearing about the secret next-film for The Wachowski Brothers, a Hard-R rated ‘cinema verite-style gay romance iraq war film set in the near future. We’ve been getting tidbits every couple months, but all we know is the film tells the story of a homosexual relationship between a US soldier and an Iraqi and that it is set in the near future, but then moves back in time to tell the bulk of the story, part of which includes the current Iraq War.¬† Last we heard, the script was completed and the Wachowskis want to direct.

Production Weekly is reporting that casting has begun for the project with Lora Kennedy, the casting director of Speed Racer, Romeo Must Die, Swordfish, The Boondock Saints, and Tombstone. More information after the jump.

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You might recall that late last year, Arianna Huffington (co-founder of the liberal news website The Huffington Post) published a few tweets claiming that she was shooting a part in a secret Wachowskis Brothers film, a movie about the Iraq War, from the perspective of the future. We wouldn’t have believed it but Huffington posted photos from the set, one of which features Any Wachowski and Wachowski brother turned sister Lana Wachowski. Was it possible that the Wachowskis have actually sneaked their next film into production without anyone noticing? Or is this just part of a short film, commercial, or test footage for a potential future project? No one had any idea, and nothing more has been learned about the project until today.

Appearing on Tuesday’s episode of the Howard Stern Show on Sirius/XM Satellite radio, the professional wrestler turned actor turned governor Jesse Ventura dropped word that he just got done filming a movie for the Wachowskis. When asked if he missed acting and would ever consider returning to the big screen, Ventura dropped the bomb shell:

“I just did one with the Wachowski brothers…”

And if you think this is strange, it gets a lot stranger. More details follow below.

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