It’s been a few days since our last TV Bits (sorry!), so we have a ton of stuff to catch up on. After the jump:

  • Alexis Bledel, Kyle McLachlan, Hope Davis, and more get pilots
  • Downton Abbey loses one character but gains six more
  • Jeffrey Wright will be a series regular on Boardwalk Empire
  • A bunch of Fox shows including The Following get early renewals
  • The Zero Hour has gets cancelled by ABC after just three episodes
  • Will Jimmy Fallon take over for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show?
  • The X-Files finally gets a tenth season… as a comic book
  • Steven Soderbergh‘s Behind the Candelabra gets EW cover
  • Hannibal and Mad Men offer up not very revealing teasers
  • See character posters and an extended trailer for Game of Thrones
  • Peek behind the scenes of Breaking Bad‘s final season

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Lionsgate’s series of Capitol Portraits for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire continues today with three images of former victors. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) refuses to take hers sitting down (though perhaps that’s just due to the practical difficulties of wrangling her super-fancy frock), while our first looks at Beetee (Jeffrey Wright) and Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) hint at strong, serious personalities. Check them out after the jump.

[UPDATE #1: New portraits for Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) have also been revealed. From a plot point, it makes no sense for Gale to get a portrait since he's not really connected to the Capitol in any way, but I guess from a marketing perspective it made even less sense to leave out one of the series' major characters. Hit the jump to check out the guys' posters.]

[UPDATE #2: And now there's one for Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) as well. See his with the others after the jump.]

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Most of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire cast has been in place for weeks if not months, but as often happens with projects this big, there’s been a last-minute tweak. Fortunately, it’s a positive one: Character actor Jeffrey Wright has just signed on to play Beetee, a former Hunger Games winner from District 3. I want to say that this is the end of major casting for the film, but every time I think we’re just about done something else seems to shift. So I won’t. More after the jump.

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The first trailer for Stephen Daldry‘s adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer‘s novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close tried to live in the area between quirky, endearing and sentimental. The balance didn’t work for me, especially thanks to the reliance on U2 as the score for the trailer. As a result I think that first look at the movie pegged it as little more than cloying Oscar bait.

Now there is a new trailer that goes straight for the sentiment by opening with the character played by Tom Hanks calling his wife, played by Sandra Bullock, from one of the high floors of the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11. From there, the trailer swirls into minor portraits of some of the film’s characters and situations as it follows that couple’s son (newcomer Thomas Horn) through the turbulent days that follow 9/11, but there still isn’t much explanation of the story. See for yourself below. Read More »

‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ Trailer

Here’s the trailer for Stephen Daldry‘s adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer‘s novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, based on a script by Eric Roth. The movie has been a curiosity for me for months in part because the book is a piece of post-modernism that doesn’t lend itself easily to adaptation, and in part because Daldry chose a non-actor, Thomas Horn, to play the central role of 11-year old Oskar Schell. Sure, he’s got established stars like Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock as buffers, but that’s still a ballsy move. Get the first taste of what came of that big risk-taking, after the break. Read More »

James Bond May No Longer Conspire With Jeffrey Wright

James Bond fans will recognize CIA agent Felix Leiter as a frequent participant in the superspy’s adventures. He was introduced in the novel Casino Royale and has a part in many of Ian Fleming‘s Bond stories. On film, he showed up in the first Bond movie, Dr. No., played by Jack Lord. In the nearly 50 years that follow, Felix has been played by nine actors in eleven films. The latest to play the character is Jeffrey Wright, but recent statements from the actor suggest he won’t be back for Bond 23. Read More »

Warner Bros. evidently has high hopes for Stephen Daldry‘s adaptation of the Jonathan Safran Foer novel Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, as the studio recently set the film for a December 25 debut. Indeed, the novel, which is a quirky but heartfelt account of a young boy’s attempt to uncover some family history in the wake of 9/11, could easily be the basis for a moving holiday film.

I’m anxious to see a trailer, in part because the key role in the film — the boy Oskar — went to a non-actor: young Jeopardy! winner Thomas Horn. The potential that this film will reveal a new young talent seems high, much as True Grit did last year with Hailee Steinfeld. While we wait for that trailer, check out the first official image from the film, which shows Horn with Tom Hanks, as Oskar’s father. Read More »

One of the great many films that seems like a strong 2011 festival prospect is George Clooney‘s The Ides of March, which adapts Beau Williams‘ play Farragut North. Now the film has been tabbed as the opening selection for the Venice Film Festival, and will therefore premiere on August 31.

That’ll probably be in time for the movie to still seem like it is particularly well-timed, as the play and movie are both inspired by events in Howard Dean’s 2004 Presidential primary campaign, but augmented with the scandal of sexual impropriety. So as it turns out, the last weeks of Anthony Weiner’s political career could be this movie’s best advance marketing. And it can always be promoted on the strength of a stellar cast: Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Max Minghella and Evan Rachel Wood. Read More »

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