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Category: Casting

Tom Cruise to lead Clint Eastwood's 'Star Is Born' with Beyonce?

Tom Cruise could star opposite Beyonce in 'A Star Is Born'

Could Tom Cruise's next mission be another foray into music? Rumor has it he's at the top of the list to play Beyonce's leading man in Clint Eastwood's update of "A Star Is Born." 

Cruise is allegedly the prime choice for the starring role opposite Jay-Z's wife in the highly pedigreed project set to shoot sometime this summer. 

Studio Warner Bros is attempting to court the actor, according to Variety, to squeeze the film in between two action projects he's slated for. The presumption is that Cruise is feeling confident with his musical side after portraying a famous rocker in the forthcoming "Rock of Ages."

Not to mention the chance to work with Eastwood.

"It was a near-perfect experience. His level of commitment and enthusiasm, I mean, he becomes this incredible partner for you," director Shankman told us of Cruise's work in "Ages."

As far as new mom Beyonce is concerned, Deadline says she'll be in fighting shape as early as June for the part -- the biggest of her career. Would you like to see Tom and B together on the big screen? Tell us in comments.   

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-- Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photos: Tom Cruise and Beyonce. Credits: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times, left; Mike Coppola / Getty Images, right. 



Scarlett Johansson lands role as ‘Psycho’s’ Janet Leigh

Scarlett Johansson and Janet Leigh
Scarlett Johansson has some screaming to do. The blond beauty is stepping into the shoes of Janet Leigh in the new movie "Making of Psycho.”

The film, directed by Sacha Gervasi, centers on director Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) and his ups and downs behind the camera of the 1960 horror flick about a woman on the run after stealing thousands from a client.

The iconic movie is best known for the shower scene in which Leigh, playing Marion Crane, is stabbed to death at the Bates Motel. James D’Arcy will play Leigh’s co-star, Anthony Perkins, and Helen Mirren is set to portray Hitchcock’s wife Alma, according to Variety.

Sources at the trade paper are already drawing parallels between Scarlett’s role as Leigh and Michelle Williams’ Oscar-nominated turn as Marilyn Monroe in “My Week With Marilyn.”

Before "Making of Psycho" hits theaters in 2013, look for Johansson in the new "Avengers" movie opening in May. See the actress reprise her "Iron Man 2" role as Black Widow in the new trailer, released earlier this week.

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-- Emily Christianson

Photo: Scarlett Johansson, left, and Janet Leigh. Credit: Jens Kalaene / EPA, left, and handout


Report: Gwyneth, Reese, Cameron, Beyoncé to join movie musical

Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyonce, Andy Samberg, Reese Witherspoon and Cameron Diaz
Talk about a bunch of dream girls: Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz and Beyoncé are reportedly coming together for a movie musical project. 

Director and "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy has, according to Deadline, recruited the stars to combine forces for "One Hit Wonders," which follows three '90s music sensations whose tanked careers inspire them to join forces in a present-day supergroup.

The idea reportedly sprang from a chatty dinner Murphy had with Paltrow, Witherspoon and Diaz (the film's title trifecta) at West Hollywood's Soho House in December. 

It's unclear what Beyoncé will come aboard to do, but she's plenty occupied with her new baby Blue Ivy and a presumably close start to Clint Eastwood's "A Star Is Born" update.

Andy Samberg will lend his musical and comedy talents to original songs for the flick. The "SNL" cast member is part of the popular hip-hop/R&B parody group Lonely Island. 

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— Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photos: Gwyneth Paltrow, left, Beyoncé, Andy Samberg, Reese Witherspoon and Cameron Diaz. Credits, from left: Evan Agostini / Associated Press; Mike Coppola / Getty Images; Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images; Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images; Evan Agostini / Associated Press.  


Naomi Watts lands Princess Diana role in 'Caught in Flight'

Naomi Watts has been cast as Princess Diana
Jessica Chastain apparently has abdicated her throne, as Naomi Watts has been announced as our new on-screen Princess Diana.

Watts will lead "Caught in Flight" as the beloved, tragic figure, charting the final two years of her life. Oliver Hirschbiegel, best known for his film "Downfall," will direct. 

Chastain was long reported to be taking the part, but perhaps Aussie Watts will be more comforting to our friends across the pond as she was born in England. The "King Kong" actress seems up for the task.

"It is such an honor to be able to play this iconic role," she said in a statement. "Princess Diana was loved across the world, and I look forward to rising to the challenge of playing her on screen."

No word on how princes Harry or William feel about the forthcoming film, nor the sentiments of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. While she may not speak on the portrayal, we know she's a fan of portraits.   

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-- Matt Donnelly
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Photo: Naomi Watts as Valerie Plame in "Fair Game." Credit: Ken Regan / via Associated Press



Michelle Trachtenberg was almost Bella Swan, she says

Michelle Trachtenberg almost played Bella Swan. According to Michelle Trachtenberg.

Television actress Michelle Trachtenberg says she was almost in the driver's seat of Bella Swan's "Twilight" pickup truck -- alleging that she was tapped to play Kristen Stewart's star-making role in the vampire franchise.

"I've known [director] Catherine Hardwicke since the movie 'Thirteen,' " she told Us Weekly. "I was actually supposed to star in that ["Thirteen], but I was on 'Buffy' at the time."  

Trachtenberg cites scheduling conflicts as the reason she didn't get to lurk with Robert Pattinson in the first "Twilight Saga" film, helmed by Hardwicke. But don't worry about Michelle: She's fine with sitting out the billion-dollar franchise.

"I already have 'Buffy,'" she said. "I've already done the vampire thing."  

Thank heavens! Not only do we find it graceless when actors cast themselves, it's worse to peck over the almost-were roles. Not only does it detract from the actor who, you know, won the role, but it's seriously unprofessional.

Trachtenberg's hubristic "Twilight" reveal is akin to saying she passed on "Salt" after her satisyfying experience on "Harriet the Spy." 

We're perfectly happy with Kristen's take on Bella, and as for Michelle -- give her and the gang our best over at "Gossip Girl." 

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-- Matt Donnelly
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Photo: Almost-Bella Michelle Trachtenberg appears at a press conference for the since-canceled 2009 NBC drama "Mercy." Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press



Jessica Chastain, American, cast as Princess Diana. Cue outrage!

Jessica Chastain will play Princess Diana in a new movie

Here's some news: Some people are shooting a movie about Princess Diana, that 20th century saint who kept the glittering-castle fairy tale alive by giving us two handsome princes. And those filmmaking people have cast an American woman, Jessica Chastain, in the role. 

Cor blimey! We can practically see the hand-wringing now. Oh wait. We actually can see the hand-wringing.

"Can an American actress pull off such an iconic British figure?" Syracuse.com asks.

"Which AMERICAN Actress Is Playing Princess Diana In Controversial New Film?" another blog thunders.

Movieline has given it a bit more thought.

"I'm on the record as Team Chastain from way back; she can accomplish anything she wants as far as I'm concerned," S.T. Vanairsdale intones. "Except, that is, appease a nation for whom news of their precious Diana treated as a real woman with complex needs and desires — played by an American, no less — will prove the equivalent of one police baton in the head too many."

So why did director Oliver Hirschbiegel hire Chastain? Other than the fact that, well, she appears to be the only ingenue in Hollywood having a decent year?

Well, two things: One, this isn't going to be the Princess Diana you know and love. It's the skanky, stalkery, desperate princess who once had an affair with a plastic surgeon. That's the focus of this particular story, not the Diana who hated land mines and loved her sons.

Second: Chastain is having a very hot year. (Think "Tree of Life," "The Help.") Producers like actors who are having hot years. Especially actors who don't yet have big names. That means they're relatively cheap, but will generate oodles of buzz.

"For investors this is a good move," says Bonnie Gillespie of the casting firm Cricket Feet. "It's like catching any of the 'Twilight' kids just before 'Twilight.'"

And lastly, well, when you’re tackling a British legend, sometimes it’s better not to be British.

"A lot of people are going to take issue with this casting, no matter who gets put in the role," Gillespie says. "If she’s a Brit, then the issue will be that she's not from the right place, or she didn't look the right way, or come from the right class."

Would you cast someone else? Tell us in comments.

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Photos: Jessica Chastain in September, left, and Princess Diana in 1989. Credits: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images, left; Tim Graham / Getty Images, right.

 


Kim Kardashian lands a role in Tyler Perry's 'Marriage Counselor'

Kim Kardashian will play Ava in Tyler Perry's 'The Marriage Couselor'

Kim Kardashian has landed a role in the new Tyler Perry film "The Marriage Counselor," which is based on his play of the same name.

"Big news!! I'm co-starring in Tyler Perry's new movie!" Kardashian tweeted over the weekend (on her 31st birthday, actually). "It's gonna be such a fun experience!" she added.

Well, maybe the reality-TV starlet has learned a thing or two about married life seeing that she's been hitched, for what, three months now? Her lavish wedding to Kris Humphries has been the talk of the tabs for months. Could that be what caught Perry's eye?

Kardashian will play Ava, a friend and coworker of the titular counselor (played by Jurnee Smollett of "The Defenders" and "Friday Night Lights"), whose marriage takes a turn when she gets bored dispensing good advice and decides to sleep with a suave client, according to Deadline. But not to worry, Ava is there to give the counselor a big-city makeover when her life is in the dumps. Big stretch for fashionista Kardashian, no?

Mrs. Kris Humphries last appeared on the big screen in the 2009 film "Deep in the Valley" and made her big-screen debut in 2008's "Disaster Movie." 

Let's just hope the middle Kardashian's stab at acting is better than her older sister Kourtney's atrocious attempt on "One Life to Live." Shudder.

The Lionsgate film begins shooting in Atlanta on Wednesday.

Is Kardashian's acting ready for Perry's directorial touch? Or should she stick with TV? Sound off in comments.

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— Nardine Saad
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Photo: Kim Kardashian. Credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press


Ashton Kutcher's 'Two and a Half Men' character revealed [Poll]

Ashton Kutcher will play Walden Schmidt on "Two and a Half Men"

Ashton Kutcher, Internet billionaire with a broken heart? That's the back story on Walden Schmidt, Kutcher's character on the new incarnation of "Two and a Half Men," CBS revealed Wednesday.

Because "Two and a Half Men" is in production, Walden Kutcher -- we're sorry, Ashton Kutcher -- was a no-show in Beverly Hills at the twice-annual Television Critics Assn. press tour, covered by Show Tracker.

"When everyone walked on that set on Monday [for the revamped show's first table read], you could cut the air with a knife," CBS honcho Nina Tassler said. "Do you pay extra special attention to the first season? Absolutely."

Questions about Charlie Sheen and his high-profile firing at the end of last season were largely deflected, according to Show Tracker. Dang it. 

The death and funeral of Sheen's Charlie Harper character, plus the sale of Harper's Malibu house have been rumored as elements of the two-episode season premiere. Also expected, according to Deadline: cameos from ex-girlfriends, characters from other Chuck Lorre shows, and real-life celebs who'll appear as themselves. Jon Cryer and Angus T. Jones will of course be returning in their roles.

So, back to that Internet-star-with-a-broken-heart concept: Add a little more to Kutcher's real-life social networking oomph and general business savvy, then subtract a little Demi Moore, and it's sounding pretty close to typecasting. Especially if you catch a glimpse at that fit-for-a-billionaire trailer Kutcher's been rocking outside the "Men" soundstage.

Then again, the boozing, womanizing Charlie Harper character did come more than pretty close to Sheen's reality, with no addition or subtraction required -- except maybe when it came to subtracting those goofy "Men" shirts, and adding a few more porn stars.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
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Photo: Jon Cryer, left, Ashton Kutcher and Angus T. Jones in New York City in May. Credit: Jeffrey R. Staab / CBS / Associated Press.



Ted Danson joins 'CSI' after Laurence Fishburne's exit [Poll]

Ted Danson joins "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"

Ted Danson is joining the cast of "CSI," coming in as a new supervisor of the Las Vegas crime team -- but he's not quitting his day job. Well, his premium-cable job. Enough with the cuteness: He's keeping his gig on HBO's "Bored to Death."

In this job market, who wouldn't, right?

Danson comes onboard in the wake of Laurence Fishburne's abrupt departure after less than three years with the show, Show Tracker reports. Fishburne's Dr. Raymond Langston was deeply involved in the Nate Haskell serial-killer story line, which wrapped up darkly in last season's finale.

The actor and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" parted ways just last month, leaving CBS little time to fill his shoes before filming started up again.

Danson's character will come with experience running a CSI lab in Portland, Ore. Can you say "fish out of water" in Las Vegas?

"Intelligence, wit, warmth, depth of character and emotion, he brings it all," executive producer Don Gill said about Danson in a statement. "And now he'll have to bring latex gloves, too."

Aw, dude. You had to go there.

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 -- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo: Ted Danson on the roof of New York's Standard Hotel in April. Credit: Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times

 

 


James Spader is hired full time at 'The Office'

James Spader James Spader has signed on at "The Office" to fill Steve Carell's shoes -- or perhaps a much shinier, upwardly mobile pair.

Spader will reprise his season-finale role as Robert California, coming in as the new chief exec of Dunder-Mifflin parent company Sabre, Show Tracker reported Wednesday.

The character is an "uber-salesman that has a power to convince and manipulate, like a high-class weirdo Jedi warrior," Paul Lieberstein, one of the series’ executive producers and a series regular, said in a statement.

California will be on the fastest of fast tracks, Lieberstein said, having been hired over the summer as a new manager, getting promoted hours later and taking over the company within days. He replaces the chief exec played previously by Kathy Bates.

"James has an energy that is completely his own, and 'The Office' has no tools for dealing with this guy," Lieberstein said. "We're thrilled he's joining our cast."

(Full disclosure: The Ministry has a little fantasy where "Boston Legal" buddy William Shatner gets hired on as a temp. Sounds like Robert California is the type of guy who could pull that off, even in this economy.)

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-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: James Spader at a LACMA gala in 2008. Credit: Dan Steinberg / Associated Press


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