The line between prequel/sequel and fan fiction blurs further.

There have been several Psycho movies following Alfred Hitchcock’s standard-setting 1960 original, and we’ve wondered just how the prequel TV series Bates Motel would exist in relation to them. Is this a prequel, a reboot, or something else? The movies don’t have the clearest story path with respect to what is “official” or canon story, and with the series charting the purchase of a motel by Norma Bates with her son Norman in tow, we’ve wondered just what to expect.

At an event debuting elements of the show today for the Television Critics Association press tour, the show’s premiere date was announced (10 p.m. Monday, March 18 on A&E) and producer Carlton Cuse (Lost) explained that, when it comes to the film series, “We don’t really view any of that as canon.” Read More »

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As a prequel to one of the most revered horror movies of all time, A&E’s Bates Motel has some pretty big shoes to fill. And while it’s unlikely to reach the same iconic status, it’s heartening to see that the first trailer actually looks pretty good. (Unlike, say, the one for the ill-received 1987 pilot of the same title.)

The new series, by Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights), follows Norman through adolescence in the present day. Freddie Highmore plays the future murderer as a sweet, shy teen, while Vera Farmiga plays the mother who literally drives him insane. The family is eager for the fresh start promised by the new motel she’s just purchased, but as we all know from Psycho, their plans don’t really go as planned. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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I’m not certain why, exactly, 2012 has turned into the year of Alfred Hitchcock, but it doesn’t really matter. We’ve got two biopics, Hitchcock and The Girl, chronicling the making of Psycho and The Birds, respectively. And just as Hitchcock is about to open we’re starting to get a look at the new TV series, Bates Motel, acts as a prequel to Psycho, with Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as young Norman Bates, and Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) as his mother.

The series premiere is called ‘First You Dream, Then You Die,’ and features the real beginning of the Bates story, at least as it relates to the motel: “Norma Bates buys a motel on the outskirts of an idyllic coastal town seeking a fresh start with her teenage son, the handsome and shy Norman.” We’ll have to wait to see how well the series storyline does or doesn’t fit in with the Bates family history established in some of the Psycho sequels. But for now, you can get a video taste of the show thanks to two brief teasers.  Read More »

Norman and Norma Bates’ twisted relationship is the stuff of cinematic legend, but apparently things weren’t always so weird between them. In fact, the first photo from Bates Motel has them looking downright relaxed together. Also after the jump:

  • Veep‘s Anna Chlumsky will be an FBI trainee on Hannibal
  • The Wire‘s Chad Coleman is The Walking Dead‘s Tyreese
  • ABC’s The Mindy Project makes a few casting changes
  • Hugh Laurie will be the pirate Blackbeard on Crossbones
  • Mark Wahlberg and Fox are developing a pot comedy
  • The poster for Revolution‘s fall finale teases a big battle
  • Hate-watch the first trailer for Season 2 of NBC’s Smash

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A little bit of casting, a couple of teasers, and a time-traveling webisode are included in today’s TV Bits. After the jump:

  • Tom Bower and Breaking Bad‘s Matt Jones join The Farm
  • Vera Farmiga will be Norman Bates’ mom in Bates Motel
  • David Fincher spills on who else will direct House of Cards
  • Tom and Huck will grow up, go steampunk, solve crimes for ABC
  • American Horror Story reveals two teasers and four images
  • Check out the Doctor Who spinoff web series Pond Life

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Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe aren’t the only former Harry Potter stars getting their post-Hogwarts careers on. After the jump, Rupert Grint and Tom Felton find new roles, along with Chloe Grace Moretz and Keira Knightley in this mostly British edition of Casting Bits.

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While Sundance is best known for movies that sell for millions and stir up controversial topics, most of the movies are simple, well-written, well-acted films that are solid, but often get lost in the mix. Lynn Shelton‘s follow-up to Humpday, called Your Sister’s Sister, is one of those movies. Another is GOATS, the debut feature of Christopher Neil.

Your Sister’s Sister features Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt as estranged sisters Iris and Hannah who end up at their family’s old cabin when Iris’ best friend Jack (Mark Duplass) heads there to get over the one-year anniversary of the death of his brother. The three characters then develop what I’d like to call a “love triangle” but is more like a “love right angle” that flirts on and off with adding that third line.

GOATS stars David Duchovny, Vera Farmiga and Ty Burrell as the parental figures of a young teenager named Eliis, played by Graham Phillips. Ellis lives a care-free, hippie lifestyle in Arizona with his mom (Farmiga) and her groundskeeper named Goat Man (Duchovny) but when he decides to go back east to the prep school run by his estranged father (Burrell), he finds himself torn between two very different set of parental ideals.

Read more about both movies after the jump. Read More »

Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor are in talks to join Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in James Wan‘s upcoming thriller, formerly called The Conjuring. The film, which is now going by the working title Untitled Warren Files Project, centers around a husband and wife paranormal investigation team (Wilson and Farmiga) dealing with spirits in a Rhode Island farmhouse. Livingston and Taylor would play a couple that moves into the farmhouse with their children, and are terrorized by the supernatural beings who reside there. The story is inspired by the real-life tale of the Perron family and paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren in the 1970s.

Livingston will next appear in HBO Films’ Game Change, which premieres March 10, and this summer’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Taylor co-stars in Paul Weitz’s Being Flynn, which opens March 2. The Conjuring is scheduled to enter production in North Carolina in March. [THR]

After the jump, Stephen Dorff goes down in ’80s Beirut, while Mark Webber and Chloë Sevigny get hitched.

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