Abrams taps Bana as ''Star Trek'' villain | EW.com


Abrams taps Bana as ''Star Trek'' villain

Plus: Kiefer Sutherland going to jail but ''24'' should not be affected, Chevy Chase gets arc on ''Brothers & Sisters,'' Warner Bros. hops aboard new ''Terminator'' franchise, and more...

(George Pimentel/WireImage.com)

Bana to play Trek’s Nero
Eric Bana (Munich, Hulk) will star in Paramount’s J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek movie as the villainous Nero. Plot details and character descriptions are being kept under tight wraps. Bana joins the already cast Anton Yelchin, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, and Leonard Nimoy in the movie, which is scheduled to start production in November for a Christmas Day 2008 release. Abrams was expected to cast big-name actors in the roles of the villain and Captain Kirk. Casting is still underway for Kirk, Scotty, and several other major characters. Bana is currently filming New Line’s adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s novel The Time Traveler’s Wife. He next appears alongside Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson in Sony’s adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s historical novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which will release in February 2008. (Variety)

Sutherland going to jail
Following last month’s DUI arrest, Kiefer Sutherland has pleaded no contest and will likely serve between 30 and 48 days in jail. Sutherland’s plea includes 30 days for driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08 percent, and 18 days for violating his probation for a 2004 drunken driving case. His sentence should not disrupt the shooting of 24, which begins its winter break in December. He will be sentenced Dec. 21, when he must begin serving the 18 days in the county jail, and then has until July 1, 2008, to serve the remaining 30 days. He also will be on probation for five years and faces fines and a driving suspension. Sutherland must also enroll in an 18-month alcohol-education class and attend weekly alcohol-therapy sessions for six months. ”Kiefer made clear to us at the time of his arrest that his first concern was the welfare of those he worked with and that he intended to do whatever was necessary to prevent shutting down the show because of his situation,” Fox said via a statement. Sutherland issued a statement saying, ”I’m very disappointed in myself for the poor judgment I exhibited recently.” (AP via Yahoo!)

Chevy Chase doing arc on Brothers & Sisters
Chevy Chase has been tapped for a multi-episode arc on the ABC series Brothers & Sisters. He will play Stan Hirsh, the high school boyfriend of Sally Field’s character, Nora Walker. Chase, who has his own recurring segment on Saturday Night Live’s ”Weekend Update” news parody, will start shooting his arc on Brothers & Sisters on Thursday (Oct. 11). (Variety)

Warner hops aboard new Terminator franchise
Warner Bros. has acquired North American distribution rights to the upcoming Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins. Production on the film, which will launch a new three-movie Terminator franchise, is scheduled to start in 2008 for a summer 2009 release. News of a Terminator revival came earlier this year when privately funded Halcyon and its co-CEOs Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson teamed with Terminator 3 executive producer Moritz Borman to acquire film, merchandising, and licensing rights to the franchise. Warner had first right of negotiation for distribution rights, and its commitment solidified financing and enabled producers to set a start date. Industry buzz has Charlie’s Angels’ director McG as the odds-on favorite to helm, but producers say they’re still deciding on a director. Warner Bros. is also producing a TV Terminator adaptation, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which will air as part of Fox’s midseason lineup. (Variety)

Silberling directing Ferrell’s Land of the Lost
Brad Silberling (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) will direct Land of the Lost, Universal’s movie adaptation of Sid and Marty Krofft’s 1970s live-action Saturday morning series. Will Ferrell will star as a disgraced paleontologist who, along with his enthusiastic assistant and macho tour guide, finds himself in a strange world inhabited by dinosaurs, monkey-people, and evil reptilian Sleestaks following a disastrous expedition. Universal has approved a March start date following a reported tweak in the budget, which is now set at $100 million. Silberling’s most recent movie is 10 Items or Less. His past work also includes City of Angels and Casper. (Hollywood Reporter)

New Britney record release pushed up
Jive Records announced that it is moving up the worldwide release date of Britney Spears’ new record, Blackout, to Oct. 30 from its original Nov. 13 date. A label spokesperson said, ”Due to numerous unauthorized on-line leaks, the label is doing everything possible to prevent and avoid any further illegal distribution of songs including moving up the release date of the album.”

Broderick, Lathan starring in indie Wonderful World
Matthew Broderick and Sanaa Lathan (Nip/Tuck) will star in the indie feature Wonderful World. The story is about a depressed, divorced, and unemployed father who finds solace in his Senegalese roommate’s sister. Joshua Goldin wrote and will direct the project, which is being produced by Matt Leutwyler and Miranda Bailey. Production starts Oct. 19. (Variety)

Dexter ratings dip, but still strong
Showtime’s sophomore series Dexter averaged 889,000 viewers at 9 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 7), off 12 percent from the previous week’s second-season premiere (1 million), which set records as the most-watched season premiere of a Showtime series. (Hollywood Reporter)

O’Flaherty directing Thundercats
Videogame art director Jerry O’Flaherty will direct Warner Bros.’ CG-animated Thundercats feature, based on the popular ’80s cartoon series, comicbook, and toy line. This will be the first feature directed by O’Flaherty, who worked on bestselling games like Gears of War and Unreal Tournament 3 for Epic Games and the Command and Conquer series from Westwood Studios. The story will expand on the major heroes and villains from the animated series, with the plot focusing on Lion-O coming of age as the leader of the Thundercats. The Thundercats are a group of humanoid cats who flee the planet of Thundera and crash-land on another planet, Third Earth, where they must thwart Mumm-Ra, an evil sorcerer bent on killing them off. O’Flaherty will now work with writer Paul Sopocy on the script. (Variety)

NBC buys Oxygen
NBC Universal has purchased seven-year-old, female-focused independent cable network Oxygen for $925 million. NBC executives cited the Peacock’s 2002 acquisition of Bravo as an example of what to expect with Oxygen and signaled that NBC properties like Today could promote some of the network’s shows in similar fashion to how NBC’s repurposing of Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was key to helping that cable channel. (Hollywood Reporter)

Timberlake, Beyonce lead AMA nominees
Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Linkin Park, and Daughtry lead the nominees for the 35th annual American Music Awards. The four leading acts each garnered three nominations. Among the artists with two nominations each were Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, T.I., and Young Jeezy. For the first time this year, members of the public will pick the winners, which will be announced during a Nov. 18 ABC broadcast at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. (Billboard)


People.com: Survivor reality star Jonny Fairplay is suing Danny Bonaduce for battery and infliction of emotional distress for tossing him during Fox Reality’s Really Awards show last week.

AP via Yahoo!: Several hospital staffers have been suspended for allegedly peeking at George Clooney’s confidential medical information, and possibly leaking it to the media, after he was hurt in a motorcycle accident last month.