Though Natalie Portman kept it busy last year with roles in No Strings Attached, Your Highness and Thor (all coming off of her Oscar win for Black Swan), she recently had a baby and took time off for motherhood. But today, Deadline announced that Portman is not only going back to work, she’ll be appearing in two movies: Knight of the Cups and Lawless. Both to be directed by Terrence Malick.

From 1978 to 1997, Terrence Malick left cinema, and though there were often reports that he was working on one thing or the other, for nearly twenty years he left the world with two movies, both arguably masterpieces (Days of Heaven and Badlands). He also cemented his reputation as an eccentric genius. But he returned in 1997 with The Thin Red Line, and came back again with 2005′s The New World. Since then he’s made Tree of Life, and has at least two films in various states of post-production, and is now on to a double feature. Which means that in the last three years he’ll have made more movies than he did in the first thirty five years of his career.

In Knight of the Cups, Portman will join Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Isabel Lucas, while in Lawless she’ll be playing against Ryan Gosling, Bale, Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Haley Bennett.  The nice thing about being hailed as a genius in your lifetime is that you can have dream casts – the amount of talent on display is staggering. These films start shooting this summer (though it’s possible that Malick has already done some filming), and both are targeted for 2013 releases.

What do you think spurred Malick’s newly found productivity?