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It’s a shame only 600 people got to see Jason Reitman‘s Live Read of American Beauty on Thursday. If more people saw it, they’d be lining up to see Men, Women and Children this weekend. The cast proved they are wonderful together.

As the kickoff to the 4th season of Live Reads at LACMA, Reitman presented Alan Ball‘s Oscar-winning 1999 script. For all the roles, he chose actors from his latest film. (Which happens to open wide this weekend.) In the role of Lester Burnham, for which Kevin Spacey won an Oscar, Reitman cast Adam Sandler. The wife Carolyn, originally played by Annette Benning, was played by Rosemarie DeWitt. Their daughter Jane, originated by Thora Birch, was played by Kaitlyn Dever. Her best friend Angela, originated by Mena Suvari, was played by Olivia Crocicchia. Buddy the real estate king, first played by Peter Gallagher, was read by Phil LaMarr. Next door, the Colonel, played by Chris Cooper, was read by Dean Norris. DeWitt doubled as his wife (Allison Janney) and their son, the pot-dealer Ricky was Travis Tope. Wes Bentley originated the role.

With a script as good as Ball’s, an infant could read it and it would sound like poetry. What Reitman showcased with his latest cast is prove that good words are one thing, but chemistry and talent are something entirely different and wonderful. Below, read more about the American Beauty Live Read presented by Film Independent at LACMA. Read More »

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We’ve seen Magic Mike and will soon get the sequel, Magic Mike XXL. But what about a film that tells the real story of the Chippendales male dance revue? Alan Ball (True Blood) wrote and is now looking at directing a Chippendales story called I Am Chippendale. He’s got Ben Stiller in talks for the lead role, which should give his old Blue Steel muscles a real workout. Read More »

Today’s TV Bits comes with the caveat that none of this applies if the world actually ends on 12/21/12. After the jump:

  • Black Dynamite, Catfish, The League, and Psych get renewed
  • Cinemax sets a January premiere date for Alan Ball‘s Banshee
  • Game of Thrones gets more screen time and its own beer
  • Jason Schwartzman and Jenny Slate head to Parks & Rec
  • Rose McGowan is Once Upon a Time‘s young Barbara Hershey
  • Amazon Studios orders pilots from Kristen SchaalGarry Trudeau, and more
  • The premiere episode of NBC’s 1600 Penn hits the web

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Fall doesn’t technically start for another three weeks, but we all know Labor Day is the unofficial turn of the season. In this very late summer edition of TV Bits:

  • MTV announces Jersey Shore will end after Season 6
  • Robin Williams could return to TV with David E. Kelley
  • Jorge Garcia lands a guest spot on Once Upon a Time
  • Yes, Judy Greer will return to Arrested Development
  • And yes, Mike Schur‘s Mose will appear on The Farm
  • NBC has a sneak peak tour planned for Revolution
  • New details emerge on Psycho prequel Bates Motel
  • See stars hanging out on the set of NBC’s Hannibal
  • Alan Ball‘s Cinemax series Banshee gets a teaser
  • American Horror Story teaser finally shows the cast

Read More »

We look ahead to the new seasons of a few popular shows and more in this edition of TV Bits. After the jump read about:

  • HBO has renewed True Blood and The Newsroom for next season.
  • Check out your first look at the prison which will house most of The Walking Dead season 3.
  • Lost alumni Elizabeth Mitchell joins J.J. Abrams‘ new show Revolution.

Read More »

With the exception of True Blood creator Alan Ball’s very serious-sounding Banshee, today’s TV Bits is all about the funny. After the jump:

  • Dwight Schrute could leave Dunder Mifflin for Schrute Farms
  • Paul Feig will direct Goldie Hawn in HBO’s The Viagra Diaries
  • CBS orders a pilot written by and starring Bridesmaids‘ Rebel Wilson
  • Alan Ball sells an Amish country-set action drama to Cinemax
  • HBO decides to turn Indie Game: The Movie into a half-hour comedy

Read More »

Quentin Tarantino is notorious for talking up his projects and then continuously delaying them (if not outright abandoning them), but recent years have proven a refreshing change of pace. After announcing at Cannes 2008 that he would finally make Inglourious Basterds by the end of the year, he actually delivered. Then there’s Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair, which is finally seeing the light of day after years of promises. And most recently, there have been reports that he’s on track to finishing the script for his western within the next couple of months, and he may even get it in front of cameras before the year is out. For once, I believe him.

But there’s an unforeseen peril threatening to muck it all up: True Blood creator Alan Ball‘s obnoxious birds. Learn more after the break. Read More »

Alan Ball goes to the well once again, Judd Apatow makes a return to TV and Professor Dumbledore bets the ponies. Just another day on the cable powerhouse that is HBO.

Ball, the Oscar-winning show runner of Six Feet Under and True Blood just shot a pilot called All Signs of Death, based on Charlie Huston‘s book The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, which follows a trauma cleaning unit, much like Sunshine Cleaning, but less cute. Apatow, who made his name with TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, is executive producing a pilot called Girls, which was created by Lena Dunham, currently riding the wave off her indie film Tiny Furniture. It’s a more realistic take on the Sex and the City formula. Both shows are only in the pilot stage and neither has been picked up for series yet. It they do, Ball and Apatow will executive produce. (UPDATE: HBO passed on All Signs of Death.)

Finally, Michael Gambon has been cast as a recurring regular on the Michael Mann-produced series Luck, starring Dustin Hoffman, which is about the seedy underworld of horse racing. Read more about all three HBO nuggets of news after the jump. Read More »

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