Is Natalie Portman The New <i>Alien</i> Star?

Natalie Portman just passed on director Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity for Warner Bros., but her days in outer orbit aren't necessarily numbered -- according to reports, she's the front runner for the lead role in Ridley Scott's upcoming Alien prequel.

Vulture has learned that "a parade of actresses have met with Scott" to discuss the lead role of "a female Colonial Marine general," with Portman at the very top of the list. Her closest competitor is Noomi Rapace, the star of the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo adaptation, who we previously reported as an Alien contender.

In addition to the possible casting news, Vulture also reports that Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof has turned in his latest draft of the Alien prequel, and executives at 20th Century Fox are "thrilled" with the script. According to the report, Lindelof has managed to craft a story that keeps budget costs down and maintains a PG-13 rating.

"The thinking," an alleged insider tells Vulture, "is that if the original Alien were released today, minus the F-bombs, you could still get a PG-13. Alien is a very Jaws-ian movie: There’s no sex, and while there’s lots of violence, most of it is off-camera. Maybe you’d have to cut away from certain scenes two seconds earlier, but it could be done."

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