Casting News

British Actor Rhys Ifans to Play Elementary’s Mycroft Holmes

CBS’s Sherlock Holmes adaptation Elementary continues its streak of making incredibly interesting casting choices for secondary roles – decisions that are just intriguing enough to make you come back to the show again and again even its actual stories are maybe not everything you might wish. (This is at least where I am with the series – I know many people love it and many can’t stand it. So clearly, your mileage may vary greatly with this particular crime drama.)

They really are pretty good at pulling you back in right when think you’re out though. Well done, show.

Elementary, which stars Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Holmes and Watson, also seems to pride itself on its non-traditional casting and character decisions. Besides making Watson a woman, the show features a transgender Mrs. Hudson and cast Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer as Irene Adler at the end of last season only to turn around and make her Moriarty by the finale. Now another British actor will be joining the mix – Rhys Ifans is set to play Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft Holmes when the show returns for its second season this Fall. And what kind of twist we might expect on this particular canon character is anyone’s guess.

Paul Giamatti Joins the Cast of Downton Abbey Series 4

There sure are going to be a lot of new faces in Series 4 of everyone’s favorite costume drama Downton Abbey! Multi-award winning actor Paul Giamattiyou may know him from such films as Sideways and Cinderella Manwill be joining the cast next season.

Giamatti, who won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance in HBO miniseries John Adams, will play Harold Levinson, the maverick, playboy brother of Cora and uncle of Mary and Edith. The character is set to appear in the Series 4 finale (that’s Christmas special to you Brits) alongside his mother Martha, played by returning guest star Shirley MacLaine.

Giamatti joins a fairly long list of new cast members and guest stars set to appear in the new season, including Lily James, Gary Carr, Tom Cullen, Nigel Harman, Dame Harriet Walter and more.

Downton executive producer Gareth Neame said that Giamatti's character is "free-spirited" and that Harold and Martha will "upset the Grantham’s apple cart" in the finale. It’s doubtful anybody has any idea what that means, so it’s time to get the speculation wheels turning. What sort of event would bring the Crawleys’ American relatives back across the pond? What do we know – if anything – about Cora’s brother from previous episodes? (Has he been mentioned before?)

And, more importantly, are you excited to see Giamatti on the show?

Doctor Who’s Matt Smith Says Goodbye in a Special Video Message

Doctor Who fans around the world are still reeling from the recent announcement that Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith will be leaving the show following its 2013 Christmas special.

Smith, who is clearly aware of the emotional devastation this news has wrought, has decided to make a public statement on the topic for the first time since the news broke.

Looking strikingly different since he shaved all his hair off for his role in Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut How to Catch a Monster, Smith recorded a special video message for Who fans while shooting his new movie in Detroit. If you can get past the fact that Smith now bears an uncanny resemblance to former Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston thanks to his new hairdo, the video is quite sweet and a lovely gesture to all the fans who are already mourning his absence.

It’s Official: Matt Smith to Leave Doctor Who Later This Year

Well, Whovians, it looks like we’re getting a regeneration for Christmas.

The BBC announced today that Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith will hang up his sonic screwdriver following Doctor Who’s 2013 Christmas special.

Rumors about the possibility of Smith’s departure have been swirling for some time, but now it’s all properly official, it almost feels a bit unreal.

Smith, who has been playing the Doctor since 2010, shared some thoughts about his time on the show in a statement. “Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show,” he said. “I'm incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realize all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.”

More after the jump.

Elementary Gets Its Own Irene Adler: Natalie Dormer Set for Guest Role

Just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in.

That’s been largely my experience with CBS’ Sherlock Holmes adaptation Elementary – the two of us have certainly had a yo-yo sort of relationship. I expected to hate it. I did not. I love Jonny Lee Miller’s performance as Holmes. I don’t really believe in Lucy Liu’s Watson. I like some of the secondary characters. The generic mysteries of the week are dreadful, but on the rare occasions the show has actually attempted to use the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle cases as inspiration – the episode featuring the introduction of Sebastian Moran, for example – it’s actually quite interesting. The show rarely uses the Conan Doyle stories as inspiration.

My internal back-and-forth on this issue is rather extensive. But, Elementary’s managed to hook me at least through the end of their first season, now that they’ve cast one of my favorite actresses as Holmes’s former flame Irene Adler. British actress Natalie Dormer has officially joined the cast for a three episode guest run – you’ve probably seen her as Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones or Anne Boleyn on The Tudorsand she is basically perfect for this part. Well, played show. I (reluctantly) tip my hat to you.

David Tennant and Billie Piper Set to Return for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special!

You probably don’t need to read this blog post, given the fact that it’s likely you have already seen the massive online celebration or heard my tremendously loud shrieks of joy, but just in case, here we go. It’s officially official – we’ve got our first bit of absolutely true and confirmed news regarding the upcoming Doctor Who 50th anniversary and it couldn’t be more exciting for Whovians everywhere.

The BBC announced over the weekend that Tenth Doctor David Tennant and former companion Billie Piper are both set to join current stars Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman for the celebrations surrounding the show’s fiftieth year on the air. Tennant played the Doctor for three full seasons and several specials, and was last seen on the show in early 2010. Piper was the original companion when Doctor Who returned to televisions for its 2005 reboot and starred alongside both Tennant and Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston for two series. To say I am over the moon with joy about this news is possibly the understatement of the year. (The only thing that could possibly make me happier is an announcement that Eccleston is also returning, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up about that.) More after the jump.

Sherlock Series 3: First Guest Star Revealed and More

Thanks to the official start of filming on the long-awaited third series of Sherlock, we’re finally getting some real information about what the new episodes of the drama might hold in store for fans. We already know that the first episode of Series 3 will be called The Empty Hearse and will feature (at least in part) some sort of take on the How-Sherlock-Holmes-Comes-Back-From-the-Dead plot from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Empty House.

Now with the advent of the series first bit of public shooting this week, further details about the new episodes have started to surface and a few filming photos have started to appear. (This is all going under the jump to protect anyone who’s trying not to find out anything about the new season before it airs, but other than official casting news, it’s spoiler free.)

New Doctor Who Companion Jenna-Louise Coleman Sticking Around for Series 8

Jenna-Louise Coleman, who will be the latest companion to Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor full time when Doctor Who returns for the back half of its seventh season on March 30, is apparently going to be sticking around the TARDIS for a while. Coleman has confirmed that she – and her alter ego Clara/Oswin Oswald – will be returning for Series 8.

Coleman revealed this news during an interview on Radio 5 Live with Richard Bacon. Unfortunately, she also confirmed that we might be waiting a bit to see Series 8 because the show will take a four month filming break following production on the 50th anniversary special (whatever that turns out to be) in order to accommodate Smith’s role in upcoming film How to Catch a Monster. Filming on the new episodes will resume in September, likely on the Christmas special episode for 2013 – so it seems a safe guess that we probably won’t see any of the actual Series 8 episodes before 2014.

Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery Joins the Cast of Restless

Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery is set to join Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, Charlotte Rampling and Hayley Atwlell in the BBC’s upcoming two-part adaptation of William Boyd’s best-selling novel Restless.

Dockery will play Ruth, a young girl who discovers that her mother Sally is really a spy named Eva, who was recruited by the British Secret Service at the start of World War II and has been living a double life on the run ever since. Rambling and Atwell will both play Eva, thirty years apart. Sewell and Gambon will also pull double character duty, both playing Lucas Romer, Eva’s former handler and lover. It all sounds quite complicated – but very interesting too!

Acclaimed theater director Ed Hall has signed on to run things behind the scenes, and Boyd – whose Any Human Heart aired on Masterpiece last year – will be adapting his own novel for the small screen.

"To have the chance to film a novel like Restless over three hours is the sort of opportunity that only a television adaptation can provide,” Boyd said.

"It represents the most enticing and alluring of possibilities - not only to tell an enthralling story of wartime espionage, love and betrayal but also to lift the lid on one of the last secrets of the Second World War."

Restless is due to screen on BBC One in late 2012. No hard date has been established for when we might see this drama here in the States, but the Hollywood Reporter says the project will broadcast in the US “later this year” as well.

The Wait for Downton Abbey Series 3 Begins: New Casting Details and Our First Look at Shirley MacLaine

Production on Downton Abbey Series 3 is officially under way and filming started last week. This process will, of course, take quite some time, but it’s at least providing us with a few drips and drabs of new information to help get us through the long wait for new episodes.

Click through for a first look at guest star Shirley MacLaine on the Downton set, as well as some casting updates about several new additions we’ll be seeing next season.

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