J.J. Abrams



J.J. Abrams' Fringe Goes on Casting Binge

Kirk Acevedo by Maury Phillips/WireImage.co

Kirk Acevedo (The Black Donnellys Oz) and Mark Valley (Boston Legal) have joined the cast of Fox's Fringe, a $10 million sci-fi pilot from Lost boss J.J. Abrams that concerns a female FBI agent who works with an institutionalized scientist to investigate unexplained phenomena. Both actors are playing FBI agents.A Warner Bros. rep tells TVGuide.com there is nothing to report yet regarding the casting of the two leads. read more

New on the Tube: Ben Stiller's Behaving Badly, and More

Ben Stiller by John Sciulli/WireImage.com

Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films has decided to make a series of Gods Behaving Badly, a popular British novel (being released on our side of the pond Dec. 10) about what happens when the deities of ancient Greece, now roomies in a modest London flat, stop being polite and start getting real.... West Wing Emmy winner Alex Graves will direct Fox's Fringe, the J.J. Abrams pilot about a cute FBI agent who, in another place and time, would've been Veronica Mars.... GSN has ordered 40 episodes of How Much Is Enough?, a new game show in which Corbin Bernsen (Psych) invites contestants to pit their greed against their speed. — Ben Katner read more

New Trek Flick Beams Up House's Morrison

Jennifer Morrison by Art Streiber/Fox

J.J. Abrams has snatched up another tube star for his forthcoming Star Trek reboot. Abrams confirms that House's Jennifer Morrison has joined the cast of his as-yet-untitled Trek pic. "She is indeed in the movie," he tells me, "and she is most excellent!"Last week, Morrison was spotted outside one of Trek's Hollywood soundstages, sparking rumors that she had quietly come aboard the ensemble, alongside Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban and Heroes' Zachary Quinto. Although Abrams isn't divulging specifics about her character, he is denying Internet chatter that she's playing the Enterprise's glorified secretary (and Kirk's crush), Yeoman Rand — the role originated by Grace Lee Whitney. "She is not [playing Rand]," he says.Abrams, meanwhile, tells me that the current writers' strike is not affecting production. "Our script is locked," he says.Thoughts on Morrison's casting? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Thumbs in between? And got guesses as to who she is playing? (Uhura, perhaps? I kid... read more

Oteri Plans 2008 TV Return, Courtesy of J.J. Abrams

Cheri Oteri by Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com

Could this be off the shelf? Even though TV Guide had heard the J.J. Abrams/Cheri Oteri half-hour comedy was shelved a few weeks ago, Oteri tells TV Guide she’s back working with Abrams on the project. SNL alum Oteri spoke to TV Guide on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the premiere of her indie film Park (which also stars Dirty Sexy Money’s William Baldwin, and Ricki Lake). Abrams, currently at work on the latest Star Trek feature film, is best known for Lost, What About Brian, Alias and Felicity, all of which displayed some comedic elements, but he has yet to produce a half-hour comedy. Abrams did, however, direct an episode of NBC’s The Office this year."I met him years ago," Oteri says of Abrams. "He said, 'I’ve always wanted to do a comedy and I only want to do it with you.'"According to Oteri, the project is slated for 2008. "Working with him is just a dream come true," she says. As for dream cast mates, Oteri’s leaving that to Abrams. "He’s got such great in... read more

New Star Trek "Pines" for Kirk as it Casts Scotty, Sulu and Baddie

Chris Pine courtesy 20th Century Fox, Simon Pegg courtesy Picturehouse

Gloucester, England-born Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) and Harold & Kumar's John Cho are boarding J.J. Abrams' Star Trek feature in the roles of engineering wizard/Romulan-ale enthusiast Montgomery Scott and Lt. Hikaru Sulu, says the Reporter. They join other future Enterprisers Zachary Quinto (as Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura) and Anton Yelchin (Chekov), while Eric Bana has been tapped to play the villain. I know what you're wondering: But who... has... the com? According to the trades, Chris Pine is in talks to play young Kirk. Just My Luck, indeed. For more discussion of the Star Trek castings, listen to the Oct. 12 TV Guide Talk podcast. read more

J.J. Abrams' Top-secret Sci-fi Show Lands at Fox

Following a heated bidding war, Fox backed up the Brinks truck and made a series commitment to Fringe, which was until now a super-hush-hush new project from J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Fox reportedly will pony up some $10 million for a two-hour pilot — that's on par with Lost's own debut — as well as pay a sizable $2 mil-per-episode licensing fee to Abrams' Bad Robot.Oh yeah, the premise: Fringe concerns a young female FBI agent (my favorite kind) who in the name of investigating a rash of unexplained phenomena teams with an institutionalized scientist whose life's work may be at the heart of the strange goings-on. The series' previous working title? "The Eureka Files." read more

In the Works: A Day in the Life of Dannielynn's Daddy?

Larry Birkhead by Chris Weeks/WireImage.com

Larry Birkhead tells the New York Daily News he has an agreement-in-principle with a television producer to do a series sharing a "day in the life" look at the biological father of the late Anna Nicole Smith's daughter, Dannielynn.... ABC has given a pilot order to an untitled drama penned by Grey's Anatomy's Jill Soloway and produced by J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot. According to Variety, the series revolves around a cable-access psychologist who is forced to become a mobile notary.... Comedy Central is not renewing The Showbiz Show with David Spade — having decided, "I liked it the first time I saw it... as David Spade's Hollywood Minute" — while History Channel has picked up new seasons of The Universe and Cities of the Underworld. read more

Trek's J.J. Abrams Tells Zoe Saldana "I Want U... hura!"

Zoe Saldana by Denise Truscello/WireImage.com

This new-old Star Trek flick is really starting to come together. According to the Hollywood Reporter, director J.J. "Just Jenius" Abrams has picked Drumline knockout Zoe Saldana to play Uhura. If he somehow includes "Uhura's Song," I may have to go all fanboy on him. In other movie news, per Variety, Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal are about to be perfectly cast as sibs in Jim Sheridan's Brothers, about a soldier (Spider-Man) whose ne'er-do-well bro (Donnie Darko) looks after his family while he's in Afghanistan. read more

Russell Crowe's Rumored Star Trek, More Film News

Russell Crowe courtesy Lionsgate

Will J.J. Abrams' Star Trek feature take its villainy to the Maximus? With the Enterprise's fledgling crew gradually getting cast — Zachary Quinto (as Spock) and Anton Yelchin (Chekov), to name two — there is a story in the New York Post that Russell Crowe is being courted to play the central baddie.... Per Variety, Fight Club members Brad Pitt and Edward Norton will reunite for an adaptation of State of Play.... Director Roman Polanski has pulled out of the $100-million Pompeii, and preparations on the big-budget epic have been halted due to fear of a looming actors' strike. read more

New Star Trek Film Checks Off Its Chekov

Anton Yelchin in Alpha Dog courtesy Universal Pictures

Russian-born Anton Yelchin, whose recent credits include Alpha Dog and TV's Huff, is in talks to play Pavel Chekov, the eventual navigator of the USS Enterprise, in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek film, says the Hollywood Reporter. Unreliable sources tell me the audition process involved having a Ceti eel implanted in your ear. Yowch.Yelchin will join the recently cast Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy, who will both play Spock. Casting is under way in New York and London for Kirk (Josh Duhamel? Is Nathan Fillion too old?), Bones, Uhura (yikes, we're going to get Rihanna, aren't we)?, Sulu, and Scotty. Abrams is expected to sign big names to play the villain and a Federation captain.What, no Hayden Panettiere as Yeoman Rand?! read more

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