We’ve already got the villainess (Angelina Jolie), the young princess (Elle Fanning), her father (Sharlto Copley), and the three fairies (Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, and Juno Temple), and now, at long last, we have the prince. Young Aussie actor Brenton Thwaites has just boarded Robert Stromberg‘s Maleficent, a Sleeping Beauty retelling seen from the perspective of its big bad.

Thwaites is almost totally unknown in the U.S., though he’s a little more famous in his native country. He first broke out with a starring role in the Australian drama series SLiDE, and has since done a stint on the long-running soap Home and Away. (As have the likes of Guy Pearce, Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts, and Chris Hemsworth before him.) He’ll next appear in the Lifetime Channel’s Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, but I’m betting that the Maleficent casting means this kid will be attracting some much higher-caliber projects soon. [Deadline]

After the jump, Olivia Wilde teams up with Spike Jonze.

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Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci made their name as a team crafting geek-friendly TV like Alias and Xena: Warrior Princess, before moving on to properties like the Transformers films, Mission: Impossible, the Star Trek reboot and the ‘swing and a miss’ film Cowboys & Aliens.

Now Alex Kurtzman has directed his first feature, People Like Us, written by the duo with Jody Lambert. (The movie was formerly called Welcome to People.) The movie isn’t a genre film, based on a licensed property, or anything along those lines. It is a story about the son (Chris Pine) of a father who maintained two families, and had kids with both. When his father dies, Pine’s character has to figure out how to handle a new relationship with Frankie (Elizabeth Banks), his half-sister from dad’s other family.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

One of the last two films Steven Soderbergh plans to shoot before retiring from directing is The Bitter Pill, a thriller scripted by Scott Z. Burns (The Informant!, Contagion) that follows a troubled and highly medicated woman (Rooney Mara) who is dealing with her anxiety pending the release of her husband (Channing Tatum) from prison.

The promising actress Vinessa Shaw (Two Lovers, pictured above, and 3:10 to Yuma) is now set to play the wife of one of Mara’s doctors, who will be portrayed by Jude Law. After The Bitter Pill, Soderbergh will move on to his Liberace biopic for HBO, and then he’s done. (So he says.) [Deadline]

After the break, Ray Liotta lives with chemistry and Stanley Tucci joins two Harry Potter veterans. Read More »

I don’t even know where to begin with today’s extra-packed edition of TV Bits, so let’s just… begin. After the jump:

  • Olivia Wilde will return for the House finale
  • IFC renews Portlandia for a third season
  • Doctor Who casts its new companion
  • 30 Rock plans to do another live episode
  • Wes Anderson teases a new TV commercial
  • January Jones’ pregnancy means less Betty
  • A first look at the Sex and the City prequel

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Like the dreams of Inception, The Words is a story about a story within a story. On the top level, there is a plot featuring Dennis Quaid and Olivia Wilde. In the middle, there’s Jeremy Irons, Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. And on the bottom, there’s Ben Barnes and Nora Arnezeder. With direction by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, the film’s structure is its second most interesting aspect. When The Words is at its best, those three tales are weaving together to speak about the decisions people make and how living with them can be the hardest thing imaginable.

The Words will be the closing night film of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival on Friday and while it won’t win any awards, it’s an entertaining, literature-centric story that will keep you interested and guessing. Read More »

First Look: Olivia Wilde and Hugh Jackman in ‘Butter’

If Jim Field Smith‘s politically-tinged satire Butter had enjoyed a really strong showing when it debuted at Telluride this year, we might already have seen the movie. Instead, the Weinstein Company has focused on other movies for awards season (The Iron Lady, The Artist and My Week With Marilyn) and is holding Butter for release on March 26, 2012.

And while the Telluride reviews came down to “good, but not great,” there’s still plenty of reason to be interested in the movie: Jennifer Garner playing/parodying Sarah Palin; a reportedly strong dramatic performance from Rob Corddy; a small role from Hugh Jackman as a used car salesman; and, as Pete said in his Telluride coverage, “a sex scene between Twilight star Ashley Greene and Olivia Wilde which will be the talk of the internet.”

That’s Wilde in her getup for the film above, and after the break we’ve got a few more shots from the upcoming comedy. Read More »

Louis Leterrier‘s magician heist movie Now You See Me keeps getting better. The movie features a story about a group of illusionists who rob banks during their performances, and then give at least some of the proceeds out to the audience, even as the FBI is hot on their tail.

The cast already includes Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco, and now Michael Caine has signed on to play Arthur Tressler, the sponsor of the illusionists. The film will be released on January 18, 2013, and unless we see a trailer that looks simply horrible, Now You See Me will be high on our list of anticipated popcorn movies until that date arrives. [Moviehole]

After the break, Olivia Wilde and Steve Buscemi join the cast of another magician film, Burt Wonderstone, while Vin Diesel and David Twohy continue to try and perfect the magic trick of getting a third Riddick film made. Read More »

Nicole Kidman‘s Blossom Films and Olympus Films have teamed up to acquire the movie rights for Kevin Wilson‘s bestselling book The Family Fang, which they plan to develop as a starring vehicle for Kidman. The two companies previously collaborated on Rabbit Hole, for which Kidman received a Best Actress Oscar nomination.

Wilson’s debut novel centers around a couple of performance artists who regularly incorporate their unwilling children into their bizarre acts. Years later, misfortune prompts the now-grown son and daughter to return home, where they find their parents gearing up for one final masterpiece. [Deadline]

After the jump, New Line pulls together an intriguing shortlist for Burt Wonderstone‘s female lead, and The East‘s terrorist organization gets one more member.

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