Jessica-Lange-American-Horror-Story-Coven

While some actors carry through multiple seasons, and there’s always a general tone of “batshit crazy,” American Horror Story has never been quite definable. It has used a haunted house, an asylum and witches so far, making variety a notable trait of the show. That’ll continue into the fourth season. Co-creator Ryan Murphy recently revealed the fourth season of the series would be another period piece set in the year 1950. “If you look historically what happened in the year 1950, there’s some more clues in that year,” he said.

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Jessica Lange Joins ‘The Gambler’

Jessica-Lange-American-Horror-Story-Coven

Briefly: American Horror Story has put all sorts of new heat on Jessica Lange, and now after long deal talks, the veteran actress has landed a role in the remake of The Gambler. She’ll play the mother of Mark Wahlberg’s central character, but as you might expect from Lange, this won’t be some meek caregiver gig. No, the character is described as “rich and ostentatious,” so we’ll probably get to see Lange have some fun.

Wahlberg plays the character originated by James Caan in the 1974 film of the same name, a college professor with a deep gambling addiction that really screws up his life and gets him into debt with the sort of people no one wants to owe money to. Rupert Wyatt is directing from a script by William Monahan, and Brie Lawson is also in film. [Deadline]

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In her onscreen appearances this year, Elizabeth Olsen is sleeping with all the wrong people. Look no further than Oldboy for concrete proof, but if you want more, there’s the period drama In Secret, based on Émile Zola’s novel Thérèse Raquin.

Olsen plays Thérèse, trapped in an arranged marriage to her dunderheaded and frail cousin (Tom Felton), and who finds herself burning a candle — maybe a bonfire, really — for the dashing and worldy artist friend (Oscar Isaac) who enters her family orbit. The appeal here is, in part, based on the cast; Olsen is reliably great in most roles (she’s even good in Oldboy, though he work is not rewarded), and Oscar Isaac seems perfectly cast in the role of the potential paramour.

And there’s the tone, commanded by director Charlie Stratton (episodes of Everwood and Revenge), which builds mysteries and plot twists on a foundation of Victorian repression, with Olsen’s luminous face guiding us through the shadows. Check out a trailer below.

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Get ready for another year of serious (and often seriously enjoyable) WTF-ery, because FX has renewed American Horror Story for a third season. Also after the jump:

  • Guillermo del Toro‘s The Strain starts casting to shoot in 2013
  • Da Vinci’s Demons hires Walking Dead composer Bear McCreary
  • Michael Cera is an Arrested Development writer; Lupe returns
  • Bryan Fuller casts Mockingbird Lane‘s Eddie Izzard in Hannibal
  • Michael Bay books a guest role as himself on ABC’s The Neighbors
  • Meryl Streep’s daughter Grace Gummer joins HBO’s The Newsroom
  • Aaron Sorkin is sad The Newsroom won’t cover the Petraeus scandal
  • HBO unveils its first teaser poster for Game of Thrones Season 3
  • See a save the date for Liz Lemon’s likely trainwreck of a wedding

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Lots of good news on the TV front broke over the weekend so, after the jump, read about the following:

  • Zachary Quinto and Jessica Lange are coming back for American Horror Story season 2 along with Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe.
  • Creator Ryan Murphy offers hints about the show’s return and a surprising twist with the casting.
  • Check out the teaser art for the second season of AMC’s The Killing.
  • A new trailer for Game of Thrones season two has been released.
  • Animated promos for NBC’s Community come online this week
  • Well-known actors like Dennis Quaid, Cary Elwes, Mira Sorvino and many others are heading to TV.

Is it Halloween already? Today’s TV Bits is dark and spooky, as it deals with vampires, zombies, murderers, and other scary creatures. (Insert your own joke about some of Star Wars‘ CGI characters being their own brand of horrifying here.) After the jump:

  • Rick McCallum talks about the Star Wars TV show (again)
  • ABC releases a trailer for Oren Peli’s The River
  • NBC picks up Dracula from Black List writer Cole Haddon
  • Golden Globe winner Jessica Lange ponders a return to FX’s American Horror Story
  • AMC announces the Season 2 premiere of The Killing and orders an extra dose of The Walking Dead

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FX’s American Horror Story won’t debut until next week, but it’s already been getting some intriguing buzz. The premise sounds normal enough: Connie Britton, Dylan McDermott, and Taissa Farmiga star as the Harmon family, who relocate from Boston to a haunted house in Los Angeles; Jessica Lange plays their neighbor. However, early reviews have indicated that it’s outrageously over-the-top and very, very weird in its execution. Which, actually, shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing as it comes from the minds of Glee and Nip/Tuck creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck.

After the jump, check out the first five minutes of the show. It looks like pretty standard horror movie stuff here, but Murphy, who directed the pilot, does a fine job of setting up an eerie mood.

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Last week, we reported on an as-yet-untitled documentary about South Park that would be airing on Comedy Central October 2, days ahead of the show’s October 5 return. We now have a bit more detail on what, exactly, the special will be about. According to Playbill (via Collider), the documentary will be:

an all-access pass to the behind-the-scenes world of creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone at South Park Studios in Los Angeles through this special documentary, providing an exclusive, insiders look into the making of a ‘South Park’ episode.

The documentary is apparently part of a year-long celebration of the series to mark its 15th anniversary. Other components of the celebration include the “South Park Fan Experience” at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, a traveling exhibit curated by artist Ron English, and limited-edition South Park-branded merchandise.

After the jump, lots of TV marketing: posters for Boardwalk Empire and Person of Interest, plus a poster and an intriguingly creepy teaser for American Horror Story.

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