EXCLUSIVE: Julie Benz is the latest client to move with her agent Iris Grossman to Paradigm. Grossman, who crossed over from ICM Partners last month, already had brought with her Ed O’Neill, Mandy Patinkin and Frances Conroy. Benz currently stars on Syfy’s Defiance, which was recently renewed for a second season. She previously had starring roles on the short-lived ABC series No Ordinary Family and Showtime’s Dexter. Her other TV credits include recurring roles on Desperate Housewives and A Gifted Man as well as Royal Pains, Law & Order and Angel. On the film side, her credits include Punisher: War Zone, Saw V, and the Rambo reboot. She continues to be managed by Vince Cirrincione.
EXCLUSIVE: Dexter alumna Julie Benz will star opposite Grant Bowler Bowler in the Syfy series Defiance. Tony Curran (Pillars Of The Earth), Jaime Murray and Stephanie Leonidas also have been cast in the live-action drama, written/executive produced by Rockne S. O’Bannon, Kevin Murphy and Michael Taylor, which was developed concurrently with an online video game. Set on a future Earth, Defiance is set in a world where humans and aliens live together on a planet ravaged by decades of war and transformed by alien terra-forming machines. It centers on Jeb Nolan (Bowler), the law-keeper in a bustling frontier boomtown that is one of the new world’s few oasis of civility and inclusion. Benz, repped by ICM and Vincent Cirrincione, will play Amanda Rosewater, the idealistic newly appointed mayor of the mining boomtown who is determined to maintain peace in the community.
EXCLUSIVE: Charlie Sheen’s new FX comedy series, Anger Management, is moving to cast its leading ladies. Selma Blair, who had been pursued by the show’s producers, is leading the field of actresses expected to test opposite Sheen at tomorrow’s studio test, which also includes Dexter and No Ordinary Family alumna Julie Benz. On the Lionsgate TV-produced Anger Management, which has an initial 10-episode order, Sheen will portray Charlie, a former baseball player with anger issues who winds up as an unconventional anger management therapist. There are 3 other leads on the series — all female — Charlie’s own therapist, envisioned as a love interest for him, his ex-wife and his 13-year-old daughter. If their deals close by the time the studio tests start tomorrow, I hear that there are at least three actresses reading for each of the roles. Blair is someone identified early on for the therapist role. Also testing for the part are Jenica Bergere and Elaine Hendrix. Up for the ex-wife role are Benz, Kate Reinders (Work It) and Becker alumna Shawnee Smith. UPDATE: I hear that Nicole Hiltz (In Plain Sight) will also test for the ex-wife part.
EXCLUSIVE: John Corbett and Julie Benz lead the cast of TNT’s two-hour movie Ricochet, based on the best-selling book by Sandra Brown. Gary Cole and Kelly Overton co-star in the project, the second entry in the network’s recently announced new TNT Tuesday Night Mystery movie franchise slated to launch in November that will feature six contemporary crime dramas, from true-crime stories to fictional mysteries. Det. Sgt. Duncan Hatcher (Corbett), a sexy Savannah homicide cop, falls hard for Elise Laird (Benz), a dishy damsel-in-distress. She’s married to corrupt Judge Cato Laird (Cole), who consistently subverts Hatcher’s efforts to bring a local drug lord to justice. Things get complicated when Hatcher and his feisty partner, Det. DeeDee Bowen (Overton), are called to the Laird home after Elise supposedly shoots an intruder in self-defense. Production on Ricochet begins next week in New Orleans.
Benz, who is coming off ABC’s superhero drama No Ordinary Family, was available to take on the role because of a recent change in her status on CBS’ upcoming supernatural medical drama A Gifted Man.
EXCLUSIVE: Julie Benz has joined her No Ordinary Family co-star Michael Chiklis in booking a pilot in second position. Benz has joined CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant drama pilot which, like NOF, has high-concept elements. Jonathan Demme is directing the supernatural medical drama, from CBS TV Studios and Timberman/Beverly, which centers on Michael (Patrick Wilson), an ultra-competitive surgeon whose life is changed forever when his ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle), a doctor running a free clinic, dies and begins teaching him what life is all about from the hereafter. Benz will play Michael’s sister, an unfocused and overwhelmed single mother with a huge heart. ICM-repped Benz co-starred on Showtime’s Dexter and recurred on ABC’s Desperate Housewives before she was cast as the female lead in NOF last year. That show’s star, Chiklis, last week signed on to topline another CBS pilot, the comedy Vince Uncensored. Both are in second position to the ABC superhero drama, which has struggled in the ratings and is doubtful to return.
The cancer theme from Showtime’s C Word panel carried over to the Dexter panel where star Michael C. Hall was asked about his treatment for the disease. The actor, now back at work on Season 5, answered like a consummate professional: ”I was thankful that the hiatus managed to coincide with my treatment. I didn’t have to miss beat.” The TV critics also wanted to know whether Hall feels remorse for playing sympathetic antihero Dexter who may encourage people to kill. ”I don’t lose sleep over the possibility that I’m advocating serial murder through my work,” he said. “It’s undeniable he’s killing people.. most of us live in LA, we’ve been in traffic, we get that impulse… If I hear a comment like that and I’m in the room, I just nod and smile and say I hope this helps lessen the flames in you, that it’s therapeutic.”
The producers of the Emmy-nominated drama discussed changes on the show following the climactic Season 4 finale. In Season 5, Dexter will undergo a process of “atonement” but not a nervous breakdown, since he has now has to cope with the responsibilities of being a single father. The show also will depart from having a single guest “bad guy,” along the lines of John Lithgow this past season, in favor of having Dexter interact with several guests stars.
Executive producer Sara Colleton called the showrunner transition from Clyde Phillips, who left at the end of last season, to Chip Johannessen “seamless” because he was a big fan and …