As we head toward the end of the year, it’s clear that 2011 has yielded some damn great performances from both established stars (Gary Oldman, Glenn Close) and rising talents (Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska). So naturally, the best way to celebrate their accomplishments is by inviting each of them to play characters wholly unlike the ones they’ve recently received acclaim for.

In a video gallery from The New York Times Magazine titled “Touch of Evil,” thirteen of this year’s most notable stars tackle thirteen villainous types, from “The Menacing Dummy” (Oldman) to “The Sociopath” (Rooney Mara channeling A Clockwork Orange‘s Alex DeLarge) and everything in between. Hit the jump for a photo gallery from the feature.

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Every year during awards season, The Hollywood Reporter somehow organizes the schedules of basically every single actor, actress, writer and director of the year’s best films to sit down and discuss them. This, in itself, is pretty spectacular. What’s even better is they release the videos of the full conversations so we can watch. For the 2011 Actress’ Roundtable, they’ve brought together Glenn Close of Albert Nobbs, Charlize Theron of Young Adult, Carey Mulligan of Shame, Michelle Williams of My Week With Marilyn and Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer of The Help to discuss their own, and each others’, performances, all of which have a good shot at multiple award nominations. Check out the video after the jump. Read More »

Hot off two of the year’s most buzzed-about performances in Albert Nobbs and Martha Marcy May Marlene, Glenn Close and Elizabeth Olsen have signed on to star in Thérèse Raquin. Charlie Stratton is writing and directing the erotic thriller, which is based on a 19th century novel and play by Émile Zola. Olsen will lead the cast as the titular young woman, who’s pushed into an unhappy marriage by her overbearing aunt (Close). Thérèse eventually falls into a passionate affair with her husband’s friend Laurent, with destructive consequences for all involved.

Close has reportedly been attached to the film for years, though Olsen’s involvement appears to be a recent development. Thérèse Raquin is scheduled to begin shooting this spring. [Entertainment Weekly]

After the jump, David Schwimmer gears up to kill people and Saoirse Ronan gets another love interest for The Host.

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There’s some bad and some good in today’s TV Bits, but I’d say there’s more of the latter — more Shameless, more Homeland, more Jennifer Coolidge, and Olga Kurylenko in late ’50s Miami all count as pluses, right? After the jump:

  • Showtime’s Shameless get a Season 2 trailer — and invites fans to play Truth or Dare with one of the characters
  • Starz debuts a trailer for Magic City, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olga Kurylenko, and Danny Huston
  • CBS gives full season orders to Unforgettable and Person of Interest
  • Showtime renews freshman series Homeland
  • Jennifer Coolidge signs on for CBS’ 2 Broke Girls
  • Jenna Elfman boards the fifth season of DirecTV’s Damages
  • Starz’ Boss loses its two showrunners
  • ABC’s Pan Am gets a new showrunner

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What a strange thing this is. Albert Nobbs is a passion project for Glenn Close, who plays the title character, a woman who poses as a man so she can take a job in a hotel in 19th century Ireland. You’ll probably hear a lot of award-season talk about Close’s performance here, and watching this trailer that just released, it’s easy to see why. But I can’t make out what sort of film this is meant to be — a serious drama, a slightly mannered comedy, or a blend of several styles. Check it out for yourself, after the break. Read More »

Early this week Glenn Close started filming her passion project Albert Nobbs, which adapts a story about a woman who disguised herself as a man to escape poverty in 19th Century Ireland. Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson are also in the cast of the film, which Rodrigo Garcia is directing from a script by Glenn Close and John Banville.

That’s the first look as Close in character, above, and it’s pretty damn convincing. See a bigger image after the break. Read More »

We’ve reported briefly on Albert Nobbs in the past — Glenn Close co-wrote with John Banville, an adaptation of the story The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs by George Moore, and will produce and star as the title character. That’s not a gender mistake — Glenn Close will play a woman who disguises herself as man to get work and escape a life of poverty in 19th century Ireland.

At one point Amanda Seyfried and Orlando Bloom were part of the cast. But the film was delayed, and Mia Wasikowska recently replaced Amanda Seyfried, and Aaron Johnson now has the role that once seemed to be pegged for Orlando Bloom.

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The Tourist, the romantic thriller starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie that remakes the French film Anthony Zimmer, has been shooting for a while after taking a very long and winding road to set. Now director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others) has two new actors to work with: Paul Bettany and Rufus Sewell. We don’t know their roles at this point, but this is slowly looking less like an over-cooked studio disaster. [Variety]

After the break, Amanda Seyfried and others join the already impressive cast of Albert Nobbs, while Emma Stone could join Steve Carell on screen. Read More »

The Internet Birthed: Tropic Thunder LOLcat

One wonders how much moolah DreamWorks dropped on this new promotional Tropic Thunder LOLcat featuring Ben Stiller‘s Tugg Speedman. I’m not the one. Rather than take on Hollywood’s cause du jour, Global Warming, Speedman’s preferred charity is Pandas. Mmm/blech, Panda Express.

This week also witnessed the unmasking of Speedman’s Tom Cruise-biting website, leaving many (employed) bloggers to declare Cruise’s IRL site victorious. And this wouldn’t be news if we didn’t mention that I Can Haz Cheezburger just launched a new celeb-skewering site called Totally Looks Like. Example: Glenn Close’s face…totally looks like…Peter Weller’s head in RoboCop. (theirs).

Discuss: Would you like to see more studios use/resurrect the LOLcat format to market blockbusters? If so, explain. If you feel the new viral strategy “rapes geek culture” as one reader commented, add your magic to the LOLcat here and share below. Would you go see I Can Haz Cheezburger: Theatrical Movie?

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Choke bookChuck Palahniuk is the biggest untapped resource producing books today. His breakthrough novel Fight Club, was made into one of the most brilliant films of the last 10 years. Yet none of his other novels have gone into production since, Until now.

According to the author’s official fansite (a great site about not just Chuck but also authors and writing), Choke has finally been given the greenlight. Sam Rockwell is set to star, and first-timer Clark Gregg will be directing.

Gregg is an actor who has done a lot of bit parts in television shows (The West Wing, The New Adventures of Old Christine) and movies (Hoot, In the Land of Women) over the last 20 years. He wrote What Lies Beneath for director Robert Zemeckis. Gregg adapted Choke into screenplay form and has been championing the project for several years now. According to the author, the mom is most likely Glenn Close, Annette Benning or Juliana Moore.

I’m glad to see that another one of his books has finally been given a chance. Although, I wish it were Survivor – which was set to go into production before, well, that day. You see, Survivor’s main character is a terrorist who hijacks a plane and… yeah, that project is way dead. But it’s definitely my favorite Palahniuk novel (underneath Fight Club, of course).

If you never want to read Choke, than don’t pick it up in a book store and start reading the first chapter. It might very well be the best opening chapter in terms of sucking you in.

Choke follows Victor Mancini and his friend Denny through a few months of their lives with frequent flashbacks to the days when Victor was a child. Victor grew up while going from one foster home to another. Victor’s mother was found to be unfit to raise Victor. Several times throughout his childhood his mother would kidnap him from his foster parents. They would eventually be caught and he would again be remanded over to the government child welfare agency.

In the present day setting of the book, Victor is now a man in his mid-twenties who left medical school in order to find work to support his mother who is now in a nursing home. He cannot afford the care that his mother is receiving so he resorts to being a con man. His “con” is to go to restaurants and midway through his meal, he forces himself to choke on his food. When some good Samaritan comes over to perform the Heimlich maneuver, he spits the food out and thanks them for saving his life. He keeps a detailed list of everyone who saves him and sends them frequent letters about fictional bills he is unable to pay. The people feel so sorry for him that they give him money, send him cards and letters asking about him how he’s doing, and even continue to send him money to help him with the bills.

We reported last year that Universal has acquired the rights to the book, so one must assume they are the studio moving the film into production.