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TV and Film Casting Bites: The Hobbit, Crash and more

In an interview with Empire Magazine, Christoper Lee (pictured right in character as Saruman from The Lord of the Rings trilogy) said that he hopes he’ll be returning to play Saruman again in Guillermo Del Toro’s adaptation of The Hobbit.  Saruman was never featured in the prequel book, but the two-film adaptation could rely on extra material not necessarily found in The Hobbit.  Lee is a fan of the books, and knows his stuff.  Read his thoughts here.

Dennis Hopper has joined the cast of Crash, Starz Entertainment’s first original drama series.  The 13-episode one-hour series has already started production.  Hopper will play “Ben”, a veteran, maverick music producer looking for his last big score. []

Continue reading for more casting bites

Sopranos scribe Terence Winter has been tapped to write Boardwalk Empire, the HBO project from Martin Scorsese based on the Nelson Johnson book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City. [Variety]

DreamWorks has picked up Roundtable, a new action comedy spec script from comic book and LOST scribe Brian K Vaughn.  The series revolves around “Merlin assembling a bunch of modern-day knights to battle a resurrected ancient evil, only to discover that today’s knights are all washed-up athletes, cowardly scientists or Academy Award-winning actors.” [THR]

Gary Cole, who had a guest stint this past season on ABC’s Desperate Housewives, has signed on to co-star in the network’s drama pilot Good Behavior. [Yahoo]

Bruce Willis has been targeted by Lionsgate for the studios videogame adaptation of Kane & Lynch.  The game follows Kane (Willis), a death row inmate who, along with a schizophrenic killer name Lynch, is sprung by Kane’s former team so that he can reterive a stolen fortune. [THR]

Brian De Palma has been tapped to direct The Boston Stranglers for Valhalla Motion Pictures.  The film is adapted by Alan Rosen from Susan Kelly’s nonfiction book The Boston Stranglers: The Public Conviction of Albert DeSalvo and the True Story of Eleven Shocking Murders. [THR]

Matt Damon has joined Morgan Freeman in the Clint Eastwood-directed Warner Bros. drama Human Factor.  Shooting on the film begins in South Africa early next year.  Damon will play rugby star Francois Pienaar, who created, with Nelson Mandela, an event that gave whites and blacks in South Africa a common cause to rally around as the country was trying to heal from the wounds of apartheid, according to Variety.

Aaron Hill has been cast in a supporting role in Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.  His role is unknown.  In other Transformers casting news, actress Nina Dobrev (Degrassi: The Next Generation) has been cast for a role as a university student.

With Cane out of commission, Jimmy Smits is free to pursue other work.  The actor has joined the cast of Showtime’s acclaimed drama Dexter for its new season.  He will be in 10 of the show’s 12 season three episodes and play a law man, but not a cop. [THR]

Jesse Bradford has joined the extensive cast of Oliver Stone’s W, playing a college buddy of George W. Bush (Josh Brolin). [THR]

Wayne McClammy, who directed and co-write the hilarious comedy shorts I’m Fucking Matt Damon and follow-up I’m Fucking Ben Affleck for the Jimmy Kimmel Live show has been tapped to help the 20th Century Fox comedy Cool School. [Variety]

Zak Penn will receive sole credit for writing The Incredible Hulk.  Edward Norton, who reportedly re-worked the script, does not appear in the final credits, save for his acting responsibilities. []