Chris Elliot and J.K. Simmons have signed on to join Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei and Allison Janney in the still untitled romantic comedy from Marc Lawrence. Simmons will portray Dr. Lerner, Chair of the University’s English department where Grant’s Ray Michaels character teaches. Lerner takes former Oscar winning screenwriter Michaels under his wing. Simmons is represented by The Gersh Agency. Elliott will play Jim, a Shakespeare professor and neighbor to Michaels. Elliott is represented by UTA and Anonymous Content. Lawrence is writing and directing the film, which is scheduled to start filming in NYC next month.
David Ajala has joined the cast of Lana and Andy Wachowski’s Jupiter Ascending.The British actor will play Ibis in the sci-fi action film. The character is the leader of the cyber hunters who are after Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis’ characters. Besides Tatum and Kunis, the Warner Bros-Village Roadshow co-production also stars Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne. Jupiter Ascending is set to shoot in London and to be released on July 25, 2014. Ajala can next be seen by blockbuster audiences in Fast & Furious 6. He is repped by managers Jeff Golenberg and Matt Goldman and the UK’s Oliver Slinger from Independent Talent Group.
Penguin Group’s general trade imprint it launched in November under president and publisher David Rosenthal now has a name: Blue Rider Press. It has acquired books by more than a dozen authors so far, the first of the titles to be released in the fall, Penguin announced today. Among its roster, the imprint will publish Bill Maher’s The New New Rules this year and books from comedian-actor Chris Elliott, screenwriter-producer Delia Ephron, Blade Runner producer-screenwriter Hampton Fancher and outed CIA agent Valerie Plame in 2012.
EXCLUSIVE: Adult Swim has picked up a second season of the live-action comedy Eagleheart, starring Chris Elliott. The quarter-hour series, a parody of butt-kicking crime dramas like Walker, Texas Ranger, hails from Conan O’Brien’s Conaco Prods. It was set up while O’Brien and Conaco were still based at NBC but now represents nice synergy between Time Warner entities. Elliott is set to return as U.S. Marshal Chris Monsanto, who blindly kicks, punches and shoots his way to what may or may not be a legitimate solution to his case, along with co-stars Brett Gelman and Maria Thayer as his sidekicks Brett and Susie. Eagleheart, which premiered Feb. 3 at midnight, was No. 1 in its time slot among adults/men 18-34 and 18-49, and it ranked as basic cable’s No. 1 sitcom in the men 18-34 and men 18-49 demos. The series was created by former Late Night With Conan O’Brien writers Michael Koman and Andrew Weinberg, who are executive producing with O’Brien, Jason Woliner, Troy Miller, Tracey Baird, David Kissinger and Jeff Ross as well as the network’s Matt Harrigan. “I’ve never seen so many executive producers on one 15-minute show,” Adult Swim head Mike Lazzo quipped.