A&E’s upcoming Psycho prequel series from Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights) has just found its Norman Bates. Twenty-year-old Englishman Freddy Highmore, who you should remember from films such as Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, August Rush, and The Spiderwick Chronicles, has been cast as the famous series killer invented by Alfred Hitchcock. Cuse celebrated the news in a tweet: “I am so delighted that Freddie Highmore will play our young Norman Bates. He is a wonderfully gifted actor and a great guy.”
In other casting news, actor Max Thieriot (Jumper) has landed the role of Norman’s brother Dylan. In another tweet Cuse shared, “Max Thieriot joins BATES MOTEL playing Norma’s OTHER son, Dylan. Max is a phenomenal, smart & magnetic actor. An amazing casting day.”
Bates Motel is described as “a contemporary exploration of the formative years of Norman Bates’ relationship with his mother, Norma [played by Vera Farmiga], and the world they inhabit. Viewers will have access to the dark, twisted backstory and learn firsthand how Norma helped forge the most famous serial killer of them all.”
It’s expected to premiere on A&E in October 2013.
Can you believe it? Another Lost actor is returning to the Island! According to EW, Tania Raymonde (aka Alex Rousseau) will guest star in an upcoming season 2 episode of Hawaii Five-0. She will play “Trisha, a married woman caught up in a love triangle between her husband and the volleyball coach she’s sleeping with.” Raymonde joins Five-0 regular Daniel Dae Kim and new recurring guest star Terry O’Quinn in the greatest attempt to reunite the case of Lost. Glad this natural beauty is finding work post-Lost; she’s currently starring in the new MTV series Death Valley.
In related casting news, Robert Englund–the man best known for portraying Freddy Kruger in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise–will also guest star in a Five-0 episode. And can you guess which one? That’s right–the Halloween-themed one. EW got this scoop too and they say he will play “a homeless desert storm veteran who hangs around an ancient burial site and becomes a suspect in a murder investigation.”
Hawaii Five-0 returns this Monday, September 19 at 10PM on CBS.
Still can’t get over the fact that FOX decided to cancel the rising midseason comedy Breaking In? Though there’s still an eensy bit of hope that the network might resurrect the Christian Slater/Brett Harrison sitcom from the grave, we can all sleep well at night now that we know Breaking In breakout female star Odette Annable is returning to the small screen to assist Dr. House and his team of diagnosticians this fall. That’s right–Annable is bringing her charm to the FOX medical drama where she will serve as a series regular. As Deadline so astutely points out, this marks the first regular addition to the cast since the promotion of Olivia Wilde, Peter Jacobson, and Kal Penn in season four. According to various sources, House will meet Annable’s character in the season seven premiere and she’ll be requested to join him at Princeton-Plainsboro. With Lisa Edelstein’s Dr. Cuddy and Amber Tamblyn’s Martha Masters out of the show (and Olivia Wilde’s Thirteen in and out due to blossoming movie deals), Annable (as of right now) will be the only full-time female cast member next season. This may change soon once the team behind House casts Cuddy’s replacement. And for all you Breaking In fans hoping for a comeback, fear not; Deadline reports, “There is time carved into Annable’s deal for House that would allow her to also do Breaking In should Fox opt to pick up the series for a second season.” Booyah!
Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith not returning to ‘Glee’ for season 4; Rachel & Kurt spinoff coming soon?
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy confirmed that show regulars Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith will not be returning to the FOX musical comedy for season 4. Rachel Berry, Kurt Hummel, and Finn Hudson are seniors and will be graduating from McKinley High at the end of the upcoming season. Murphy explains, “You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic, or you can be really true to life and say when they started the show they were very clearly sophomores and they should graduate at the end of their senior year.” He’s taking the latter route, and although I commend the creative team for keeping things realistic in terms of who stays and goes, it will be with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to these cast members so early in the show’s lifespan. And to make matters tougher for Gleeks, Murphy hints that “more characters are leaving than are staying” by the time graduation rolls around. He added, “We’ve never done anything by the book. We made that decision and I involved Chris [Colfer] and Lea [Michele] and they thought that was a good idea. They both trust the writing and trust me and felt that it would be great to have an open and closed experience for them to go out while they were on top.”
When TVLine mentioned the news to Colfer he said, “It’s definitely not my choice. But I completely understand that it works for the integrity of the show. One of the things that I love about Glee is, despite characters breaking into song in the middle of the hallway, it was very real to me. It always seemed like a very real high school environment. And I think by having some characters graduate, they’ll continue having that element.” Michele took to Twitter and reacted like this: “We always knew we’d graduate in real time. It’s all part of the plan and it’s all good! It’s going to make Season 3 amazing!!!”
Sidenote here: Ever since the season 2 finale where the gang travels to New York City to compete for Nationals, people have been hoping that Murphy imagines a spinoff series starring Rachel and Kurt. The creative team certainly planted the seeds for a possible spinoff. In “New York,” the two of them visit the Broadway set of Wicked and discuss their futures. Rachel says that after they graduate from high school she wants to go to college in New York; she says, “This is where I belong.” Kurt replies, “I’m so coming, too.” In June Murphy tackled the idea head-on with TVLine; “It’s an interesting idea,” he said. “The questions are ‘How would we do it? And when would we do it?’ It would have to be something I would talk about to Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly and Dana Walden and Gary Newman. What we’re trying to do now — maybe those discussions will happen around December — we’re just now trying to do the first 10 episodes.” Something to keep on your radar.
Forcing out fan favorites is an interesting choice to be made. Michele and Moneith are certainly considered the show’s female and male leads, and Colfer has been nominated for his efforts two years in a row. Once they’re gone, Murphy and company will have to find more members to join New Directions; casting is bound to start soon, and I’m sure the writing staff is already cooking up ways to introduce new characters throughout the upcoming season (one of which will come from Oxygen’s Glee Project).
Glee returns Tuesday, September 20 on FOX. The season three premiere will reveal all the departing graduates and confirm who’s safe for season four.
Gleeks–you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have the facts of life. The FOX hit show is keeping two stars and dropping one Trouty Mouth for season three. Kurt’s teenage dream Darren Criss and professional dancer Harry Shum Jr. will return as series regulars next season, while Chord Overstreet’s series regular option has not been picked up meaning that McKinley High will say goodbye to the student infamously known as Trouty Mouth. According to TVLine, Overstreet “could return as an occasional guest star” throughout the season. But what of the newly kindled romance between Sam and Mercedes? I’m sure the writers are mulling a way around it. Ever since Overstreet took on Justin Beiber’s songs in “Comeback” it’s been hard for me to invest much in his character. At least he’s taking the news positively; he recently tweeted, “It’s been a good year. Too bad it’s over. Time for summer and starting fresh.”
Update: According to TVLine, this may not mark the end of Trouty Mouth just yet. According to their source, “[Chord Overstreet's] option to be a series regular was just not picked up at this time. If Chord wants to appear on Glee, the choice is his. The Glee writers like his Sam character, and have plans to write for him. He and his reps have been told that he is welcome back to Glee, and everyone hopes he will show up on August 10 when filming begins.” The source reminds us that it took “two years [for Harry Shum Jr.] to become a regular” and “If Chord has a great season, which we expect he will, then he will become a regular like Harry, possibly as early as January.” And there you have it. It’s up to Overstreet to return; we shall find out the verdict later this summer.
It’s a Lost reunion in Hawaii! The incredibly talented Terry O’Quinn (John Locke) decided it is time to go baaaack to the Island and join his fellow castaway Daniel Dae Kim (Jin Kwon, now Chin Ho Kelly) in what TVLine describes is a “pivotal recurring role” on Hawaii Five-0. Furthermore the source says, “O’Quinn will play a Navy Seal Lt. Commander who trained Alex O’Loughlin’s McGarrett in Coronado, and served with his father in Vietnam. Described as strong, stubborn and a man you want in your corner when things go south, the character holds some of the answers to the mysteries surrounding the respective murders of McGarrett’s mother and father.” O’Quinn was ready to star in Marc Cherry’s ABC pilot Hallelujah but it was not picked up. Also, at one point he was supposed to star alongside Lost alum Michael Emerson in the tentatively titled Odd Jobs but that idea is shelved for the time being. Fortunately for us it all worked out in the end–O’Quinn returns to TV this fall! (And so does Emerson in the CBS procedural Person of Interest).
In related Five-0 casting news, Masi Oka (Heroes) who plays the quirky coroner has been promoted to series regular status. So you can expect to see much more of him next season. All good news.
Back in May it was reported that original creator Haim Saban bought the Power Rangers franchise from Disney and that Nickelodeon would air the eighteenth season of the show this year. Since then so much more detail has surfaced about the upcoming series. The official name of the kids program is Power Rangers Samurai and we’ve got a synopsis:
Power Rangers Samurai follows a new generation of five Rangers who must master the ancient Samurai Symbols of Power which give them control over the elements of Fire, Water, Sky, Forest and Earth. Under the guidance of their all-knowing Samurai mentor, Ji, and with the aid of their devoted animal Zords (Lion, Dragon, Ape, Turtle and Bear), they battle to save Earth from the dark forces of the Netherworld led by the evil Master Xandred.
Get to know the cast: The Samurai Power Rangers are: Jayden (Alex Heartman), the Red Ranger and the team’s leader; Mia (Erika Fong), the Pink Ranger who is the confident and caring “big sister” of the Rangers; Kevin (Najee De-Tiege), the Blue Ranger, is a great swordsman who lives by the code of the Rangers; Emily (Brittany Pirtle), the Yellow Ranger, is the youngest but most optimistic of the group; and Mike (Hector David), the Green Ranger, who is a bit of a rebel and would rather be destroying video monsters than real ones.
Oh and remember the slapstick duo from the original 1993 series run Bulk and Skull? Actor Paul Schrier is returning to the Power Rangers universe and will reprise his role as Bulk in the Samurai premiere and will make guest appearances throughout the season. Neat-o right? Look after the break to watch the 2011 version of Bulk in action. Nothing’s changed.
Nick’s Pete Danielsen promises, “This new season of Power Ranger Samurai will feature all new heroes, villains and special effects while keeping the core messages of friendship, teamwork and empowerment that the series has always exhibited.”
Says Saban Brands president Elie Dekel: “We wanted to get back to the original core DNA of the show that made it so powerful and resonant in the ’90s. We made sure that moving forward we drew on the best possible elements that we knew kids responded to, so we embedded a lot more humor in the show, a lot more charm and fun. Bringing back some of the silliness of the original series was a goal, and now it’s in high-def, which has never been done before, which gives it a really great new look.” Beyond that, Dekel continues, “We really wanted to pay homage to, if you will, the show’s Japanese origins with Samurai.”
The 20-episode 18th season premieres February 7 at 8PM on Nickelodeon. Look after the break for some more sneak peek videos, and hit up EW to watch the brand new intro.
Say hello to the new Superman. 27-year-old British actor Henry Cavill, who is best known in the States for playing Charles Brandon on Showtime’s The Tudors, has been cast to play the Man of Steel in Zack Snyder’s reboot of the franchise. Said Snyder in a press release: “In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time, and I am honored to be a part of his return to the big screen. I also join Warner Bros., Legendary and the producers in saying how excited we are about the casting of Henry. He is the perfect choice to don the cape and S shield.” Interestingly enough, Cavill was tapped for the lead role in 2006′s Superman Returns, but as we all know the role went to Brandon Routh and now they’re rebooting it. Cavill’s certainly got the looks to play the part, and we’ll soon find out if he’s got the silver screen talent to captivate audiences when he stars in the fantasy-action film Immortals later this year.
Superman was written by David S. Goyer and its producing team includes talents Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Charles Roven, and Deborah Snyder. The movie’s on track for a 2012 holiday release.
We’re finally starting to get idea about what Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman film will be about, now that we know Catwoman and Bane are involved. Anne Hathaway (Love and Other Drugs) has been cast as Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman). Cue statement from Nolan: “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Anne Hathaway, who will be a fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story.” Tom Hardy (Inception) is Bane, or as he’s better known as “the man who broke the Bat”; in the comics Bane is an abnormally strong villain who literally breaks Batman’s back and learns Batman’s secret identity. Another statement from the director: “I am delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman’s most formidable enemies.”
Movie buff? The last time Catwoman and Bane made it to the big screen was in 1996′s Batman Returns (Michelle Pfeiffer) and 1997′s Batman and Robin (Robert Swenson). I’m trying real hard to forget that 2004′s Catwoman (Halle Berry) was ever made.
Christian Bale, Hathaway, and Hardy are locked in; can’t wait to see who gets called in next. The Dark Knight Rises opens July 20, 2012.
Larisa Oleynik. It took me a few seconds to recognize that name. It’s Alex Mack from the classic Nickelodeon series The Secret World of Alex Mack (1994-1998)! I grew up watching (idolizing and adoring) Oleynik because she wielded the most awesome superpowers including the ability to instantly morph into a puddle of silver liquid. Well, now she’s all grown up and ready to star in the CBS reboot hit Hawaii Five-0. According to TVLine, she will play “Jessica Kaye, an ex-CIA analyst and Harvard graduate with a degree in Political Science and a Masters in Global Security and Intelligence Studies who is fresh off the plane from Langley, Virginia.” She’s joining the Five-0 team led by McGarrett and Danno because she is in hot pursuit of Wo Fat, McGarrett’s nemesis who had a hand in the murder of his mother (but he doesn’t know this yet). Jessica “has a personal stake in the manhunt since Wo Fat was responsible for the murder of her fiancé, a well respected CIA field agent.” Apparently Oleynik’s role will remain recurring for the rest of season one, and there’s an option open for her to potentially become a series regular next season. Welcome back to the ‘waves, Alex Mack.
Tough break for the boys of Prison Break. Starz overlooked Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell, among others, and selected Australian actor Liam McIntyre (The Pacific) to be the next Thracian warrior. After star Andy Whitfield dropped out of the Spartacus star role due to health issues, the producers came up with an ultimatum: close up shop or recast. Whitfield gave his blessing to the recast the role, and so the network began its search.
“Since no one can really replace Andy, we realized that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead Spartacus forward,” said Starz’s CEO Chris Albrecht. “It was important to us to have Andy endorse the idea of recasting this part, which he did in the same heroic manner that he’s dealt with his whole ordeal. And that, coupled with our fortune in finding a young actor with the gladiator credentials and the acting ability of Liam, makes it easier for us to keep this hit franchise going.”
And so Spartacus: Blood and Sand will carry on. Production on season 2 is expected to resume this spring. The six-part prequel series Spartacus: Gods of the Arena premieres Friday, January 21 on Starz.
Season 2 of Spartacus: Blood and Sand is nearly ready to begin production. But there is one gaping hole left to fill: finding a strong replacement for cancer-striken Andy Whitfield. After being diagnosed with early stage Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Whitfield was forced to dropped out of the show shortly after the first season concluded. Last week Starz president Chris Albrecht said that the network is “confident that we will find an actor who can ably step into Spartacus’ sandals.” Though Australian actor Liam McIntyre is rumored to be the selection, the casting call is apparently still open. Prison Break star Dominic Purcell put together a screen test tape and sent it to the show’s producers. Want to know the spark of irony here? It was fellow Prison Break actor Wentworth Miller who initially expressed interest in taking over the role. If you take a look at appearances alone, Purcell fits the bill over Miller due to his more Gladiator-like physique. Anyhow, I’ll keep my ear to the ground and follow up on this story once the producers make their final decision. Blood and Sand is tentatively scheduled for September 2011. And don’t forget about the prequel series Spartacus: Gods of the Arena which premieres Friday, January 21 on Starz.
So much for my Evangeline Lilly prediction. After scooping up Lost‘s Jorge Garcia for his upcoming FOX pilot based on the infamous prison, J.J. Abrams has cast the lead female role for the show. Sarah Jones has been featured in a number of TV series including House, Justified, and Sons of Anarchy. This (hopefully) will be her breakout role and cement her as Abrams’ latest leading female powerhouse (she follows Felicity‘s Keri Russell, Alias‘ Jennifer Garner, Lost‘s Evangeline Lilly, Fringe‘s Anna Torv, and we must include Undercovers‘ Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Jones will play Rebecca Madsen, “a smart, thoughtful and a little obsessive police officer.” She’s gorgeous–but then again, Abrams’ knows how to pick his leading ladies.
Also joining the show are Jonny Coyne (Undercovers) and Jason Butler Harner (Fringe). Coyne will play Alcatraz Warden Edwin James and Harner is Associate Warden E.B. Tiller “who enjoys and abuses his power.”
Alcatraz “centers on a group of missing Alcatraz prisoners and guards who reappear in the present day. It chronicles the efforts of a team of FBI agents to track them down and unravel the mystery behind their disappearance thirty years prior.” Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Elizabeth Sarnoff are attatched to the Warner Bros. TV/Bad Robot project. Production begins next month.
Update: More cast additions have been made. According to Deadline, Sam Neill (Happy Town) will play Emerson Hauser, “the head of a government agency who radiates authority and piercing intelligence”; Parminder Nagra (ER) is Hauser’s lab technician, Lucy; Robert Forster (Heroes) is Ray Archer, “a retired detective who is now owner/bartender of a cop hangout bar.” Alcatraz characters are getting cast in rapid succession, so exciting!
It’s (finally) official: Peter Jackson will direct ‘The Hobbit’ [Update: Martin Freeman cast as Bilbo]
Peter Jackson, the man who helmed the Lord of the Rings trilogy movie adaptations will be back to direct the two-part prequel series The Hobbit. Originally Jackson was going to serve as executive producer with Guillermo del Toro as director. But when MGM’s financial woes forced production delays del Toro decided to back out of the project leaving the director spot open for some time. Since the beginning of last summer it had been rumored that Jackson would take control of the reigns again, and today Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, and MGM finally confirmed it. In a statement Jackson said, “Exploring Tolkien’s Middle-earth goes way beyond a normal film-making experience. It’s an all-immersive journey into a very special place of imagination, beauty and drama. We’re looking forward to re-entering this wondrous world with Gandalf and Bilbo – and our friends at New Line Cinema, Warner Brothers and MGM”.
The Hobbit will be cut up into two parts (as originally planned by del Toro) and will be shot in 3D. Principal photography begins in February 2011. Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, and Hugo Weaving are locked in to reprise their roles as Gandalf, Gollum and Elrond, respectively. It has not been confirmed whether or not Ian Holm will return to star as Bilbo Baggins.
Update (10/21): Casting news! Martin Freeman (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Hot Fuzz) is Bilbo Baggins. The following actors comprise Bilbo’s Company of Dwarves who set forth to reclaim a treasure from a dangerous dragon: Richard Armitage (MI-5, Captain America: The First Avenger) is Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the Company of Dwarves; Aidan Turner (Being Human) and Rob Kazinsky (EastEnders) will play Kili and Fili; Graham McTavish (Secretariat) is Dwalin, John Callen (Power Rangers Jungle Fury) is Oin; Stephen Hunter (All Saints) is Bombur, Mark Hadlow (King Kong) is Dori, and Peter Hambleton (The Strip) is Gloin.
Peter Jackson on Freeman as Baggins: “Despite the various rumors and speculation surround this role, there has only ever been one Bilbo Baggins for us. There are a few times in your career when you come across an actor who you know was born to play a role, but that was the case as soon as I met Martin. He is intelligent, funny, surprising and brave — exactly like Bilbo and I feel incredibly proud to be able to announce that he is our Hobbit.”
According to EW’s Michael Ausiello, Wentworth Miller–better known as Michael Scofield, star of FOX’s breakout hit Prison Break–has expressed interest in taking over the lead role in Starz’s Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The original Spartacus Andy Whitfield dropped out of the show shortly after its first season to undergo treatment for early stage Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This forced the production team to come with an ultimatum–”close up shop or recast.” Since this news broke back in late September, the team went ahead with the latter option. There hasn’t been any official word (or even rumors) about who would take over the demanding role, and apparently Miller has stepped forward offering a bid. The ex-con (in Break, of course) definitely has the acting chops to pull it off. The question is whether or not he has the physical appearence to play the part. A smearing of body tattoos of Jolie Prison isn’t going to hide that face that Miller is not nearly as buff as the intimidating Whitfield; but as Ausiello points out a healthy regimen at the gym could make up for that.
There’s much time left for decisions to be made. Blood and Sand is tentatively scheduled for a September 2011 air date. But until then, you can look forward to Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, a six episode prequel series, airing in January 2011. And for those concerned, Whitfield is reported to have “a very positive outlook.”
After days of speculation, Sony Pictures has confirmed that Emma Stone will in fact play the lead female role in Marc Webb’s Spider-Man reboot. It’s just not the role you think. Stone (Superbad, Zombieland, Easy A) is set to play Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s first love–not Mary Jane Watson. That character has yet to be cast. Director Webb shared his thoughts on the casting: “The chemistry between Andrew and Emma was stunning and made Emma the clear choice. At the heart of the story of Peter Parker is not only the amazing Spider-Man, but also an ordinary teenager who is wondering what he has to do to get the girl. Andrew and Emma will bring everything audiences expect to these roles, but also make them their own. Much to my surprise, it was fun to find out that our choice for Gwen (Emma) is also a natural blonde.” Spider-Man begins production this December and it’s slated to release in 3D on July 3, 2012.