Casting News Roundup: Gugu Mbatha-Raw + David Oyelowo, Natalie Portman + Oscar Isaac, & Daisy Ridley


It’s been ages since I posted a roundup of casting news, but I have a trio of intriguing ones to share w/ you today, folks.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw + David Oyelowo to star in JJ Abrams-produced sci-fi thriller

I don’t even have to know what the premise is, I’m already sold on this casting and genre!! So Abrams won’t be directing, but he and his Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk will produce God Particle, to be directed by Nigerian-born filmmaker Julius Onah.


Here’s the premise per The Wrap:

God Particle follows an American space station crew who, believing they have destroyed Earth via a Hadron accelerator, allow the crew of hostile nations to board their ship, with disastrous results.

I LOVE a good sci-fi and this sounds REALLY intriguing, esp. with THIS cast. Glad to see Oleyowo AND Mbatha-Raw as leads too, esp the latter. She’s been relegated to supporting roles too many times and based on Belle & Beyond the Lights alone, we know she’s leading lady material. It was Abrams who discovered her in Undercovers. So yeah, I can’t wait to hear more about this one but I’m already sold on it.

Gugu_Gina_UntamedStateSpeaking of Beyond The Lights, its director Gina Prince-Bythewood will be reteaming with miss Gugu again on Untamed State, based on a novel by Michael De Luca.

Per Deadline, the novel tells the powerful, unflinching story of a Haitian-American woman kidnapped for ransom in front of her husband and child. The novel explores the privilege that made her a target and the strength she must draw on to survive and reclaim her life. This sounds very intriguing indeed and I’m thrilled to see Mbatha-Raw getting a leading role again in this one. Of course, having a talented female director like Prince-Bythewood on board is always a welcome thing in my book!

Oscar Isaac joins Natalie Portman & the mostly-female cast of Alex Garland’s sci-fi ‘Annihilation’

So it’s Poe & Padme as married couple? Star Wars fans must be having a field day 😀 But to me, I’m super excited to see Isaac re-teaming with Garland again after the phenomenal little film Ex Machina. The premise per Tracking Board:

The story centers around a biologist (Portman) who, in seeking answers to her husband’s tragic disappearance volunteers for a government expedition into an area sealed off as an environmental disaster zone. What she discovers, however, is pristine wilderness, and a mysterious dark force within it.


The rest of the ensemble cast include Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, and Gina Rodriguez. Garland is set to direct his own script, adapted from the first novel of the ‘Southern Reach’ trilogy by science fiction author Jeff VanderMeer.

Based on what I’ve seen so far that’s written by Garland (including Never Let Me Go and 28 Days Later), I can’t wait for this. Glad to see him venture into directing again after his fantastic debut with Ex Machina, I’m sure he’ll do a good job in his sophomore effort.

Daisy Ridley in Talks to Star in ‘Tomb Raider’ reboot

Per THR, Daisy Ridley told the publication at the Empire Awards that there “have been conversations” about her picking up the Lara Croft reins left by Angelina Jolie, but that she hadn’t yet been offered the role. She won the Best Female Newcomer Award at the event. It’s no surprise that her Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ co-star John Boyega, who won the male version of the Empire Newcomer Award, really wants her to get the role.


“I played Tomb Raider the game; it’s a new take and I think the movies are going to be based on that version,” Boyega told THR. “But I texted Daisy [and] was like, ‘This is you!’ and ‘You need to get on that because you could be Lara Croft.’ She should be.”

I’ve actually seen that game when my hubby was playing it briefly a few weeks ago and I think Boyega’s right, Ridley does seem to fit the look of the new Lara Croft. I’m not entirely sure I want to see another movie adaptation of it though, but I suppose if they must reboot it, I wouldn’t mind seeing Ridley in the role.

Ok what’s YOUR thoughts on these trio casting news? Any particular one you feel strongly about?


25 thoughts on “Casting News Roundup: Gugu Mbatha-Raw + David Oyelowo, Natalie Portman + Oscar Isaac, & Daisy Ridley

  1. God Particle sounds interesting but since this is the first time I’m hearing about it and don’t know anything about the director, I’ll wait and see the trailer before making any judgement.

    I’m a fan of Alex Garland too and looking forward to Annihilation, I assume it’s a smaller budget film and he’ll have total control over the script and direction of the movie. Hopefully it won’t be a sophomore slump like most new directors second picture.

    Depends on who they get to write and direct this new Lara Croft, I played the original game way back in my college years and mildly enjoyed the two films they made. Daisy definitely looks the part, she might need to gain some weight and muscle for this role though, I thought she’s way too skinny in Star Wars 7.

    1. Hi Ted! I think the fact that JJ is behind God Particle is already promising enough for me, plus I LOVE the two leads.

      Yeah I hope Annihilation is a small budget fare and since Garland is also writing it, it’s likely gonna be good. I haven’t been disappointed w/ all the stuff he’s written so far.

      I think Daisy would bulk up a bit if she did get the role, just like Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman. I mean when I saw her in the Fast & Furious movies she was super skinny, too.

  2. Cool news, Ruth. Thanks for sharing! I like the sound of the first two. I’m always in the mood for strong science fiction and the authors you mentioned are great at it. Yay!

    1. Yeah I’m always up for good sci-fi too, and the two projects certainly have great pedigrees. Btw, you have seen Ex Machina right? If not you should straight away!

  3. Honestly, I don’t think Lara Croft is a good idea. I personally would rather have Daisy Ridley do something smaller and something that relies more of her work as an actress rather than do this franchise and that franchise. Natalie Portman doing a sci-fi film, yes. Gugu Mbatha-Raw and David Oyelowo in a sci-fi film… yes.

    1. Yeah I’m with you about Tomb Raider, I’d rather see Daisy do other things, maybe smaller films? But the two sci-fi films here sound very promising even just based on the cast and filmmakers involved!

    1. Hi Adam! Yeah, Garland-Isaac reteaming sounds great, but I have a feeling Isaac’s role will be relatively small in this one. I’m excited nonetheless, esp since it’s mostly female cast.

        1. Ah I see. Well sometimes one does not need a rational reason to like or dislike someone. I’m not her biggest fan by any means, I think she’s a bit overrated, but she is good in certain roles.

  4. I don’t know….Ridley is so cute and talented, why tie herself down to another franchise? I don’t think she is a good fit for that part

    1. You’re right, I think she’s better off working on non-franchise movies, something smaller perhaps to offset the huge blockbuster one she’s committed to. Honestly I’m not all that interested in another Tomb Raider franchise.

  5. Now is definitely the right time to be a Sci-Fi fan! Can’t wait for Annihilation, and I promise it’s not just because of Oscar Isaac!
    I’m super happy for Daisy Ridley too, but I don’t want to see her being type-cast after Star Wars. I’d love to see her in a hard-hitting drama instead. Plus I don’t really care for the Tomb Raider franchise 😦
    – Allie

    1. Hi Allie! Can’t wait for Annihilation, I love the filmmaker and cast so can’t go wrong there. I hear ya about Tomb Raider, I think Ridley should find a small drama or something to offset the huge films like Star Wars.

  6. Boy, I’m really looking forward to Garland’s Annihilation now that Isaac had been cast. Good to see the two have joined forces again. As for Ridley’s casting; here’s hoping we finally get a good Tomb Raider flick!

    1. Hi Mark! Yeah I haven’t been disappointed by anything Garland’s written. When it comes to heartfelt and intriguing sci-fi, the guy is GOLD. Plus he’s always got interesting cast for his films. You’ve seen Never Let Me Go, right? That’s an excellent, but heartbreaking film.

        1. Ah I see. It’s not as good as Ex Machina and it’s pretty harrowing stuff, but I like how he made a sci-fi more like a melancholy drama. The juxtaposition of its tone and style made the story intriguing.

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