Natalie Portman signs on for, not one, but two new Terrence Malick films

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Since giving birth last spring, Natalie Portman hadn't committed to any new projects, and we were worried, considering she only had five films released in 2011. But we can breathe easy today, as we learn that Portman has agreed to star in two new Terrence Malick joints, Knight of the Cups (Tarot connection?), and Lawless.

And who wouldn't say yes to the instant gravitas a Malick film confers? (Especially after making No Strings Attached, Your Highness, and Thor.) I mean, look where working with Aronofsky got her. It will be something she can proudly show little Aleph Portman-Millepied in a few years. (Will that kid be able to cut a rug, or what?)

Malick was the cinematic Howard Hughes who famously let twenty years elapse between Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, and now he's cranking out flicks with the fecundity of an Octomom or a Bollywood hack. Let's just hope the Malick brand doesn't get watered down, and that Tree of Life was his Finnegan's Wake, because if that was his Ulysses, we're in trouble.

The reclusive director wrapped filming on his untitled Ben Affleck-Javier Bardem-Rachel McAdams project last year, but who knows how long the editing will take on that one. In both Knight of the Cups and Lawless, Portman will be sharing the screen with Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett, which means the chances of either film not being awesome are pretty much zero. Oh yeah, and Lawless will also feature Rooney Mara and some dude named Ryan Gosling.

Malick notoriously runs a tight set, so the films' plots are a mystery, but we do know that Portman will be filming them back-to-back this summer and fall, with both movies targeted for 2013 releases. And later this month, we can root for Malick to beat that French guy at the Oscars.