Monday, January 31, 2011

Sd

The search for the new Man of Steel is over (and, sorry, Joe Manganiello, it did not go your abstastic way.

Henry Cavill (Showtime’s The Tudors) has nabbed the coveted role of Clark Kent/Superman in Zack Snyder’s franchise reboot.

“[Henry] is the perfect choice to don the cape and S shield,” the director said of his new leading man, who will debut, at last (he actually was cast in the Superman movie that McG was going to make before those plans fell through and we got Superman Returns starring Brandon Routh), in December 2012.

Photo: SUZ143.wordpress.com.
Getting to Know Father

Beginners is a movie that, evidently, was a big hit at the Toronto Film Festival last fall.

I didn’t know anything about it until last week when I first saw the trailer.

Starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, and Inglourious Basterds’ Mélanie Laurent, it tells the story of a man (McGregor) who is getting to really know his dear ol’ dad (Plummer), who not only has come out as gay but also has revealed he is terminally ill.

Oh, and there’s a dog in the movie, too – a pooch that responds to most anything McGregor says via subtitles.

I don’t know how, but it seems like it’ll all work, especially the performances:

The Directors Have Voted, Too...

On the heels of its big PGA win, The King’s Speech’s Tom Hooper (pictured at right, on set) picked up the Directors Guild of America award over the weekend, upsetting everybody’s pick, The Social Network’s David Fincher.

It’s kinda what happens when the Oscars grow closer and closer, huh. The frontrunner loses a little momentum, the awards start going other ways....

Photo: The Weinstein Company (The King’s Speech).

Update: The Screen Actors Guild Awards were presented on Jan. 30, and the Actors went gaga over the king who found his voice, too.

And Alec Baldwin. And Betty White.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Up to the Mic

Lea Michele is getting ready to face one tough crowd.

Glee’s MVP is set to hit the Super Bowl next weekend, where she’ll
perform “America the Beautiful” before the game (Christina Aguilera will be tackling the national anthem).

It’s going to be quite the busy Sunday for Michele and the rest of the Gleeks – their show’s buzzed-about
“Thriller”-themed ep will air right after the game.

Photo: BrainstormLive.com.

Friday, January 28, 2011

W.E. Pour Cannes

This is why I live for Madonna – because girlfriend either goes big or she goes home.

The Queen of Pop has decided that she will premiere her second directorial effort, W.E., at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

A glutton for punishment, my M.

The movie tells the parallel stories of the love affair between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII and that of a modern-day couple.

So a total breeze for the tough crowds of the Croisette to digest.

Photo: MarieClaire.co.uk.

Update: It looks like, as it is often the case with Madonna and her would-be appearances, this was just another rumor.

Reps for W.E. have denied the movie is Cannes-bound because it won’t be ready in time to be included in this year’s program. M & Co. are eyeing a fall opening, though.
The Next It Man

Michael Fassbender is happening – and I love it.

The Inglourious Basterds actor, who will be seen in this spring’s
Jane Eyre and the summer tentpole X-Men: First Class, is in talks to join the star of the Swedish Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Noomi Rapace, in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.

The science-fiction project was written by Scott (who was s’pposed to deliver an Alien prequel instead, btw) and Damon Lindelof, one of the masterminds of TV’s Lost).

Prometheus is set for a June 2012 release

Photo: MovieMavenGal.blogspot.com.
As Wills

Lifetime is fast-tracking William & Kate, a made-for-TV movie based on eight-year romance between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Stepping in the royals shoes will be Kiwi newcomer Nico Evers-Swindell, who has popped up in episodes of Law & Order and NCIS: Los Angeles.

No word on who will play Middleton quite just yet.

I have to say I just may have to watch this. I mean, just look at Evers-Swindell one more time. Nice, huh.

Photo: IMDb.com.

Update: Wills princess to be has been found.

British newcomer Camilla Luddington will play Kate Middleton on William & Kate. Curious enough, the actress hails from the same area as the future princess. So, y know, shell get the accent just right.
The Gentleman’s a Vamp

I wonder if Joseph Morgan has “got wood,” or he can handle catching “VD” fever.

The Welsh actor is thisclose to nabbing the coveted role of Original bloodsucker Klaus on The CW’s crazy-addictive The Vampire Diaries.

Sharp-eyed one may remember the fellow from small parts in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World or Alexander.

Hope Morgan has what it takes: Klaus has quite a lot of to live up to.

Photo: CurtisBrown.co.uk.
Law Abiding Citizen

So this is why Robin Wright dyed her hair so dark soon after hitting Splitsville for good with Sean Penn, for Rober Redford’s The Conspirator.

The plot of the multi-hyphenate’s Lincoln assassination drama is revolves around the aftermath of the 16th president’s death, and follows the trial of Mary Surratt (Wright), the mother of one of John Wilkes Booth’s co-conspirators. James McAvoy plays her initially reluctant lawyer.

Check out the trailer and see who else you spot in it:



The Conspirator, which also features Kevin Kline, erstwhile Gilmore Girl Alexis Bledel, Justin Long, and Evan Rachel Wood, is due out in theaters on April 15.
Angels No. 2 and No. 3

Here come the Angels.

No, not Victoria’s, but Charlie’s.

Friday Night Lights alumna Minka Kelly and Rachael Taylor are rounding out the cast of ABC’s potential Charlie’s Angels reboot, which already recruited Annie Ilonzeh as the serious one.

Kelly’s (pictured at right, to the left) character was f.n.a. Marisa and described as a former U.S. Marine, a weapons expert trained in all forms of hand-to-hand combat, and a neat freak. The role is being retooled.

Meanwhile, Taylor’s Abby will the youngest and sassiest of the three, the privileged daughter of a notorious Wall Street crook and an expert con artist herself.

Photo: ComicBookResources.com.
Tower-ing Presence

Javier Bardem is mucho in demand.

Ron Howard, in fact, would like the Biutiful Academy Award nominee (and new dad – congrats to ya and Penélope Cruz!) to play troubled hero Roland Deschain in his adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower (Christian Bale reportedly is also being eyed for the role of the Gunslinger).

The horror-fantasy-western adaptation is planned as a big-screen trilogy along with a TV series. Im not sure if Bardem would star in everything that is in the works, but the first Dark Tower movie is currently scheduled for summer 2013.

Photo: Swotti.com.
Well, He Certainly Has the Steely Abs for It

Joe Manganiello makes for a hot werewolf, but is he Superman material?

I...can see it.

The True Blood breakout is being considered for the starring role in Zack Snyder’s franchise reboot.

“It’s out there in the ether, we’ll see,” he has said. “I would be honored. I love Zack Snyder, I love Christopher Nolan [he is producing]. I’m a huge fan of both of them.”

Now, Manganiello has quite the distinctive look, but I think with the right styling he could totally work. Although I can see how Matthew Bomer’s can and should keep coming up: he’s got the classic Clark Kent look. And I bet Snyder won’t make a cookie-cutter choice.

Photo: BeautyAndTheDirt.com.
Not a Party Without Seacrest

Ryan Seacrest is already an NYE fixture, and now he’s becoming a part of New Year’s Eve, the movie.

The host with the most is in talks to join the ensemble cast of the Garry Marshall comedy, along with Ice Cube, who would play a cop, and Josh Duhamel, who would portray a hopeless romantic traveling to New York City for the holiday.

The trio joins a star-studded cast that already includes Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel, Sarah Jessica Parker, Halle Berry, Lea Michele, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sofia Vergara, Zac Efron, Jon Bon Jovi, and Robert De Niro, among others.

Photo: ReserveResult.com.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

He Is Coming Soon

Puerto Rican god Ricky Martin is going on tour, and he’s shaking his hips when he does.

Duh.

The entertainer will be
hitting Miami on April 9 – and you know I’ll be there again ready for more of his goodies.

Photo: EugeneOnTheScene.com.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The New Annie

Will Smith is determined to make his children happen (son Jaden arrived last year with a hit Karate Kid reboot), and that’s OK, I guess.

America’s favorite is developing – along with wife Jada Pinkett Smith and Jay-Z – a remake of Annie as a starring vehicle for Willow Smith.

The “Whip My Hair” sensation is here to stay.

Photo: MIsForMusic.com.

A Shot of Estrogen

Clint Eastwood’s star-studded J. Edgar is a boys club no more.

Naomi Watts has joined the cast – which Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, Armie Hammer, Ed Westwick, Josh Lucas, and Damon Herriman – and
will play the plum part of…Hoover’s secretary.

Glad this is a bit of a period piece, otherwise I’d say Watts shouldn’t be playing somebody’s secretary.

Bet her role is kinda pivotal, though…privy to all kinds of secrets….

Photo: TheCinemaSource.com.
Also There

I have a friend who’s going to lose it over this one.

Jon Bon Jovi has joined the sprawling cast of Garry Marshall’s New Year’s Eve.

The rock icon will play a rock star who finds himself facing an ex (Halle Berry) in the movie.

Meanwhile, SNL head writer Seth Meyers also has come on board, as a financially struggling soon-to-be father attempting to talk his wife into having the first baby of the year, thus earning the family a prize of $25,000.

This cast just got a little bit hotter, it must be said....

Photo: Comcast.net.

When Elton Met Matthew

Glee star Matthew Morrison has quite the fan in Elton John.

The legend has welcomed the newcomer into the music world with open arms, even going to the…trouble of dueting with the guy for his upcoming debut.

“I just did it! It’s a duet. It’s great, really fantastic,” John recently said. “It’s a medley of ‘Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters’ going into ‘Rocket Man.’ [Matthew] sings great on it.”

Cool endorsement, huh.

Photo: EW.com.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Time for the Oscars!

Julia Roberts must be pleased.

The Oscar winner with the million-dollar smile and contagious laugh
hosted a special screening of Biutiful earlier this month in order to draw attention to her Eat Pray Love co-star Javier Bardem’s performance in the little-seen film – and it seems her gamble paid off: Academy members noticed the actor’s turn and nominated him today, along with sure-things like Colin Firth, for Best Actor gold.

Joining Bardem and the
King’s Speech frontrunner in the big race this year is James Franco (127 Hours), who will be busy pulling double-duty on Oscar night as co-host, with Anne Hathaway, The Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg, and Jeff Bridges (True Grit).

In total, The King’s Speech received the most nods – 12 – of any movie, including one for director Tom Hooper and another for Helena Bonham Carter’s supporting role.

Vying for Best Actress are leading ladies Annette Bening and Natalie Portman, for The Kids Are All Right and
Black Swan, respectively. Michelle Williams squeezed into the mix for Blue Valentine, but Ryan Gosling didn’t.

Country Strong, btw, managed to get a nomination, too. Yee-haw! Not the one I would’ve wanted, but I’m confident that the nod for Best Song will prove irresistible to the powers that be and they’ll ask Gwyneth Paltrow to perform on the show.

Click
here for a complete list of nominees.

And now
here for reactions from some nominees, including Fighter producer Mark Wahlberg, Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, Costume Design nominee Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland), and Supporting Actor contenders Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech) and Jeremy Renner (The Town).

Photo: Paramount Pictures (True Grit).
QT Just Made Get There

Kill Bill: Volume 3 is coming.

In 2013.

I. Die.

Quentin Tarantino tweeted a teaser of the film’s script for fans to salivate over, and he also hinted that Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) could be playing B.B., the beloved dauther of the Bride (Uma Thurman, pictured at right with Vivica A. Fox), in the terribly anticipated threequel.

Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the whole thing, but I give y’all but one hint: Nikki.

I. Cannot. Freakin’ wait!

Photo: Playtime-Magazine.com.
MTV Gets Savage

Remember those pre-Snooki days when MTV played music videos and featured thoughtful, socially conscious programming?

Well, they may not be back, but the cabler is making an effort to shine a light on a different kind of situation.

Columnist/author/LGBTactivist Dan Savage is working on an advice show for the network now that it has ordered a pilot that follows him as he tours college campuses giving his brand of brutally honest (and sometimes graphic) sex and relationship advice.

See, kids: It does get better...and it just may now that a voice that can offer some sound guidance might be heard.

Photo: MiamiNewTimes.com.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hot Baker

Queer as Folk alumnus Robert Gant (a.k.a. Ben on that dearly departed show) is finally getting a gig worth of his oh-so-good looks and all he brings to the table.

The actor, whom I’ve spotted lately on too many a commercial, is going
to play a baker in the freshman TV sitcom Mike & Molly, which I completely adored when I was watching it online (boo, CBS, for dropping the ball on making eps available!).

Gant’s character will be revealed to be very into Molly (Melissa McCarthy), with whom he has a…mmm… special relationship, which makes Mike (Billy Gardell) totally jelly.

I should catch up with this cute little show, I think.

Photo: 123NonStop.com.
Banner Years

The 2014 and 2015 holidays are gonna get their blocks busted.

James Cameron
has confirmed that the next installments of what will be the Avatar trilogy will be released over both of those upcoming Christmases.

“I am in the process of writing the next two Avatar films now,” the director said. “We are planning to shoot them together and post them together, and we will probably release them about a year apart. [That] is the current plan.”

Cameron also teased that, yes, characters from the first, groundbreaking movie will pop up in the sequel and the threequel, “at least in some form.”

And to prove that the projects aren’t just about cashing in, he also announced that he and the studio have partnered “to donate a chunk of the profits to environmental causes that are at the heart of the Avatar world. I didn’t want to make more Avatar movies without a grander plan in place.”

Well, isn’t that nice.

Photo: EW.com.
So the Producers Have Voted...

The King’s Speech won the Producers Guild of America award for best movie of 2010 over the weekend, delivering a blow to critical front-runner The Social Network if I ever saw one.

Which means that we have us a tight Oscar race, people.

In other PGAs-winning news, Waiting for “Superman” took home the award in the documentary category, while Toy Story 3 won for animated film.

AMC’s Mad Men, Modern Family, HBO’s The Pacific, and Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report picked up the TV prizes.

Photo: The Weinstein Company (The King’s Speech).

Update 1: I almost forgot: The BAFTA nominations were announced last week, and The King’s Speech and Black Swan led the way with 14 and 12 nods, respectively. And Javier Bardem scored a nomination in the Best Actor category for the little-seen Biutiful.

On a related note, The Kids Are All Right is a leading contender for GLAAD Media Awards.

Update 2: Judd Apatow hosted the Producers shindig, btw, and he didnt pull a Ricky (Gervais). In fact, he kinda went after the Golden Globes host a little.
The Horror Master

Well, rumor has it Anthony Hopkins is in talks to play Alfred Hitchcock in a new non-fiction movie about the director’s life and film career based on a 1998 book titled Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho.

The book would focus on Hitchcock’s decision to make the classic horror movie and the struggle he had to finance and get support for the film. The script, which was written by Black Swan writer John Laughlin, may focus more on his relationship with his wife, Alma Reville, though.

Hopkins sounds like quite the inspired choice, I think. I hope he does it.

Photo: NeoSeeker.com.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In Session

Hello, Magneto!

The first images from X-Men: First Class have begun to make their way to the WWW, and I must say Michael Fassbender makes on heckuva young Magneto.

Click here to get a load of what James McAvoy looks like Professor X, the early years.

Back to Fassbender, though: Is he the dogs pajamas or what!

Up first for the German-Irish actor is Marchs Jane Eyre. I cant wait.

Photo: SlashFilm.com.

Update: Click here to read more details about the X prequel opening on June 3, straight from director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Kick-Ass), as well as look-see at the rest of the cast, which includes Rose Byrne (FX’s Damages), Nicholas Hoult (A Single Man), and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone).
J. Hud’s Back

She’s staying, alright.

Jennifer Hudson is about to release her sophomore effort, I Remember Me (the album is due out on March 22), and she has a first single to prove it.

“Where You At,” written and produced by R. Kelly, is actually dropping in a couple days (a snippet of it is available on J. Hud’s Web site.

Among the folks that Hudson also collaborated with for the album are Ryan Tedder, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Rich Harrison, Ne-Yo, and Stargate.

Sounds like a doozy, huh.

Photo: HipHollywood.com.
Wonder Woman Lives

You just can’t keep a good superhero-woman down.

Now that it’s under new regime, NBC has gone and taken a big leap of faith (the same guy who revamped Showtime with fare like Weeds and Dexter is now running the show) and
picked up David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman pilot, after all.

Kelley’s script is said to incorporate the superhero’s signature lasso, cuffs, and even her invisible plane.

Joss Whedon previously had tried to resuscitate the beloved Amazon warrior for the big screen
without success.

Photo EW.com.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Time for Killers

Trend Alert!

Serial killers movies seem to be hottest thing these days: Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) is going to play Charles Manson, while both Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney are set to portray very bad guys in two separate projects.

And now, Revolutionary Road Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon (pictured here), Benicio Del Toro, and James Franco will star in The Iceman, the true story of Richard Kuklinski, a notorious mob contract killer and loving family man who earned his nickname by freezing the bodies of his victims, disguising the time of death, and throwing police off-track.

Del Toro will play the guy’s employer, the notorious mobster Roy Demeo, while Franco will take on the role of his mentor assassin known as Mr. Softee.

Photo: LabTheater.org.
The Starlet and Her Director

Now, how’s this for an unlikely pairing: Clint Eastwood and Beyoncé.

The Hollywood legend is set to direct a fourth remake of A Star Is Born with B. in the role of the young ingénue with Tinseltown designs (the multi-hyphenate is still in negotiations).

At one point Russell Crowe was set to play the has-been who lends the starlet a helping hand, but now the role is up for grabs.

Photo: TalkingMakeup.com; LATimes.com.
Keeping It Simple

It’s a sad truth that any time most people see Ashton Kutcher’s name on a movie’s poster, especially something rom-com-looking, their reaction isn’t necessarily, say, favorable...but add the unlikely presence of Natalie Portman to he mix, and, well...folks get intrigued.

A good thing for Ivan Reitman’s latest, No Strings Attached, a pleasant surprise of a movie that combines some raunch with genuine laughs and plenty of modern-day heart.

Portman and Kutcher play longtime friends – these sort of satellite pals who like, come into each other’s orbit every few years, you know, to remind themselves of a simpler time.

In fact, when we first meet them, 15 years ago, they’re at summer camp. Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up” is playing (of course it is), and trust me when I tell you youre gonna wanna hang on to their every word and not eat your movie snacks during their exchange. It’s really quite telling of who they are and will become, what kind of people, I mean (the informational download is casual but significant) – and the kicker is hi-freakin-larious.

Immediately, No Strings Attached proves that it isn’t just another rom-com (in another blast from the past, she plays a sorta trick on him that’s played for laughs but says so much about the ease with which they relate). I mean, you have Portman, a leading contender in this year’s Oscar race for the prestige-y Black Swan, shooting the breeze and talking the way her contemporaries do, and you have Kutcher, who’s made a career out just that. It’s a good combo.

She plays Emma, this very busy resident at a Los Angeles hospital, while he’s Adam, a low-on-the-totem-pole player at high-school-set musical TV show (he has writing ambitions, but he wants to make it on his own, without the help of his legendary, catchphrase-y dad, played by Kevin Kline, who’s this terrible hambone).

Emma and Adam have once again run into each other out in the vastness of L.A,. and right away you can just tell. They don’t make any plans, though, but eventually, they start to see each other. As “sex friends” who have lots and lots of sex.

They...well, she wants to keep the commitments to a minimum – for she’s got stuff going on, so it’s best not to let things get complicated. Whaddya know, though, in a reversal of roles, he is the one who would rather see what’s up.

Theirs is an easy rapport (the same goes for Portman and Kutcher – she totally elevated his game in this one), and while it’s perfectly obvious there’s only one way for their story to end, it is really quite a lot of fun to see them sleep/laugh/make mixed tapes (him, for her period)/show up at the door drunk (she, gamely spewing one of the funniest lines Ive heard a girl say to get a guy in a movie)/fight/attempt proper dates/struggle their way there.

Sure, alright, after the sexy novelty of the are-we-really-doing-this? realization, the...ahem...action slows down a bit, but you it’s necessary for these two characters (and the movie) to not get stuck in one position.

No Strings Attached, to which Portman was attracted because it was not offensive and even ended up producing, breaks the mold of what we’ve come to expect from the genre smartly. It is, honestly, one of the best Kutcher has made, and a great way for the actress to leave her mark in territory previously commanded by a number of America’s Sweethearts.

This movie won’t get either star an invite to the Academy Awards (she’s set, anyway), but the MTV Movie Awards should show it some love – as should you.

My Rating ***

Photo: Paramount Pictures.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

That’s How You Fill ’Em Jeans

New shots of Megan Fox and Rafal Nadal donning Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans, respectively, have made their e-debut, and
they are H-O-T.

Off to the gym now.

Click here to see Nadal in his unmentionables.

Photo: HuffingtonPost.com.
Angel No. 1

Everything is falling into place for the Charlie’s Angels reboot that ABC
announced last fall – in fact, one of the new Angels was already anointed.

General Hospital star
Annie Ilonzeh has landed one of the three plum parts in the project that Drew Barrymore is developing.

No word yet on who will be joining her on the Miami-set modern show following the adventures of a new trio of private eyes – Kate, Abby, and Marisa – working for a wealthy mystery man to be voiced by
Robert Wagner.

Ilonzeh
will play Kate, the serious one, a very smart and very athletic ex-cop and a master of martial arts.

Could this girl be the next Eva Longoria. The Desperate Housewife cut her teeth in the soap world, and look at her now….

Photo: IMDb.com.
The Dream on the Road

Katy Perry has finally announced dates for a North American summer tour, and now I’m happy.

The “California Dreams 2011 World Tour” will kick off on June 7 in Atlanta and will crisscross the continent before wrapping up with three dates in Perry’s hometown of Santa Barbara, Calif.

Of course, much like Kylie Minogue, the “Teenage Dream” singer will make it to South Florida and is set to perform in Fort Lauderdale on June 11. (I think she’s currently doing Europe, or is about to.)

And, to make the whole thing even more must-y, she’s recruited Robyn and Marina & the Diamonds as support.

So there!

Photo: Zap2It.com.
The Boss

Nothing like a little diversion to get around some controversy.

After many a year of will-he-or-won’t-he guess work, Ricky Gervais is making the day of fans all over the place.

The actor – drum roll, please – will reprise his star-making role as David Brent from the original British Office on the American remake, which is losing its leading man, Steve Carell, this spring.

Photo: SlyOyster.com.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Debuted That Way

Lady GaGa could give people a first listen of her new single myriad ways: on the radio, on TV...at a slaughterhouse....

Whaddya know, though, the pop artiste decided that she would premiere a new track, presumably her new single “Born This Way,” at the Mugler fashion show in Paris tonight (since she’s serving as its musical director or som’in’).

The song will be available for listening on Mugler.com and AOL at noon tomorrow.

And that’s how Jan. 20 became known as the day La GaGa crashed the Internets....

Photo: PopEater.com.

Update: And here it is:


Pretty thumping, huh.

Now, this is how you do a tease, Ill give her that much.
Anne’s Rise

It’s done: Anne Hathaway has beaten every other actress gunning for a role in Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman movie and will be playing Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises.

Warner Bros. confirmed the casting today and also announced that Tom Hardy is, indeed, a part of the project as well. The actor will take on the role of the obscure villain Bane.

Kyle, of course, is Catwoman’s alter ego, although the press release reportedly made no mention of the word “Catwoman.”

Curious, huh.

Photo: BellaSugar.com.
New Scream, New Rules

Scream 4 is coming out soon...and now we have a new, extended trailer teasing what’s to come in more detail:



Can April 15 just get here, already? I mean, really....
He Is (the New) Spartacus

Liam McIntyre did it: He is the new Spartacus.

The Aussie is taking over the role from Andy Whitfield, who left the show after only one celebrated season to focus on his health (the actor is battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma).

McIntyre was a frontrunner for the part, but last week rumors surfaced that producers thought he wasn’t bulky enough to lead the second season of Starz’s Spartacus: Blood and Sand, and that they were looking at Dominic Purcell (TV’s Prison Break).

Alas, McIntyre won out in the end.

“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,” said the powers that be at the cabler. “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.”

Before we see the new Spartacus in action, a prequel titled Spartacus: Gods of the Arena will premiere on Jan. 21.

Photo: BeyondHollywood.com.
Mr. Cooper Goes to Broadway

Anderson Cooper is gon’ make his stage debut this spring.

The CNN star-turned-future talk-show host will voice the narrator in the upcoming How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying revival starring Daniel Radcliffe.

While the Harry Potter star is filling shoes once worn by Matthew Broderick as J. Pierrepont Finch, the Coop will perform vocal duties once tackled by Walter Cronkite.

The musical, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, is set to begin previews on Feb. 26 on the Great White Way.

Photo: ShavarRoss.com.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Good Grief

Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart don’t have the bestest of time in Rabbit Hole.

And that’s exactly why this John Cameron Mitchell-directed take on David Lindsay-Abaire’s own adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning play is something not to...enjoy, per se, but to admire, because these two actors are heartbreaking as suburban-New York parents grieving the loss of their 4-year-old son eight months earlier.

Eckhart, for the first time in many years, blazes through leading-man territory that has been denied to him with thankless turns in subpar projects like, say, Love Happens, in which he also played a man coping with the death of a loved one. Not that I am comparing this film to that movie. It’s apples and oranges – completely different genres.

All I’m saying is Eckhart shines as his character, Howie, struggles to be allowed by his wife, Becca (Kidman, who received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance, and is a leading candidate for an Oscar nod later this month), to feel everything he wants and needs to feel in order to heal, while she would rather shut out as much of the world as possible in order to remain in control of the chaos she feels inside.

The loss of a child does not a feel-good movie make. Ditto that of an anything (see the dissolution of Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams’ relationship in Blue Valentine). It isn’t fun to watch, but when the material at hand is as thoughtfully played as it is in Rabbit Hole, well...the pain we see on screen becomes tolerable.

Howie and Becca are still going through the motions after the accident that claimed their boy. They go to group counseling, which she finds a waste of her time and irritating (especially when the other parents turn to God for comfort). Howie, on the other hand, finds it helpful...or, at least, he wants to – more than anything, he wants to help his wife so they can move on together, away from the memories, the longing, the guilt, the passive-aggressiveness, the house they once called a home.

Becca’s not ready, though. She’s angrier than she realizes or knows how to express, and resentful (of just about everything), and short (with just about everyone her mother, played by Dianne Wiest, knows the pain she’s feeling all too well, yet shes a frequent target). Kidman plays every emotion perfectly, daring to make her character unlikeable but understandable.

The couple’s journey takes them in different directions for a while. Howie finds solace in a fellow group-goer (Sandra Oh, from TV’s Grey’s Anatomy), while Becca connects with the teenager (Miles Teller) who ran over her child and finds a kindred spirit, a pain she recognizes.

Ultimately, she accepts that this is her life now, and that, like her mother says, she can learn how to be “fine” with it.

As Rabbit Hole goes deeper and deeper, it sometimes veers as off track as Becca and Howie are in their marriage, but ultimately, it finds its way to the hope they need, and it’s a beautiful thing.

My Rating ***

Photo: Lionsgate Films.
The American Hero

Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar is taking (handsome) shape fast.

On the heels of the announcement that Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick will be joining Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer on the project comes word that Josh Lucas is thisclose to landing the role of Charles Lindbergh in the J. Edgar Hoover biopic

Production on the film, which has DiCaprio playing the shady FBI chief, is set to begin early next month.

Photo: TexasBauble.com.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Auntie Anne

It wouldn’t be a night on the Tinseltown if scoop weren’t to be found, and last night’s Golden Globes delivered Glee’s latest casting coup.

Anne Hathaway reportedly pitched a role (which she has been mulling over for some time) to the powers that be, and – whaddya know – they said OK.

The self-confessed Gleek is set to guest as the lesbian aunt of Kurt, Chris Col...make that Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer’s beloved character.

I think Hathaway will do great...and I believe this will be the perfect warm-up for a bigger role in a musical all her own some time down the line. Something like a Liza biopic. Think about it – the resemblance is uncanny.

Photo: UsMagazine.com.