After breaking out with Wedding Crashes and The Hangover a few years back, Bradley Cooper‘s been trying to make the transition into more dramatic roles. Which, for some reason, starts with playing shabby, dishonest writer types.

In last year’s Limitless, Cooper played a hapless copywriter who cheats his way to success with a performance-enhancing drug. In this fall’s The Words, he stars as a middling author who fakes talent by plagiarizing from a manuscript he discovers in an old briefcase. The trouble starts when Jeremy Irons enters his life, claiming to be the true author of the story. Olivia Wilde, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana, and Ben Barnes also star. Watch the second trailer after the jump.

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Watch the trailers for two wildly different shows, find out why one company passed on one the best television shows ever, and check out a cool movie tie-in, below in this edition of TV Bits. After the jump, learn more about the following.

  • The trailer for the seventh season of Dexter is blur.
  • FX explains why they passed on Breaking Bad before it ended up on AMC.
  • Steel Magnolias is getting remade as a Lifetime movie and now you can watch a trailer.
  • Olivia Wilde will reprise her role as Quorra on Disney XD’s Tron Uprising.

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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 »

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