Everyone who tuned in last week learned that James Spader has taken a permanent role on The Office. While California has been shown to be nothing if not out there, he clearly must have some foundation in reality, since, as we'll learn this season, he is married. The Office has managed to nab an impressive comic actress for the role of California's wife: Maura Tierney. Tierney's TV impressive resume includes NewsRadio, ER, and Rescue Me: in all of which, she was a big win. The Office airs Thursday nights on NBC at 9 pm. -Vulture
One of the ABC series Cougar Town's greatest aspects is Dan Byrd, who plays the brooding, cynical college-aged son of Courtney Cox's Jules. The stonefaced Byrd will be lending his talents to the new ABC sitcom Suburgatory, which displaces a single father and his teenaged daughter (Jane Levy) from their New York City lives into a "perfect" suburban community. Byrd will play a transfer student to the suburban high school, who provides a romantic interest to Levy's Tessa. Suburgatory will premiere this Wednesday, September 28, at 8:30 pm. -Hollywood Reporter
The final bit of casting news has not actually yet been cemented, but the first step is in progress: The Glee Project has announced that auditions are now open for the Oxygen network's musical competition series. Other details regarding The Glee Project's second season are still being finalized. -The Glee Project
In the vein of Field of Dreams Astronaut Farmer is about building the seemingly impossible. Thankfully in this case it’s simply a rocket in the barn not a ballpark in a cornfield where ghosts of baseball heroes past can play the game. That is a bit far-fetched. Instead we meet Charles Farmer (Thornton) a man who was once on track to be an astronaut but was forced to leave NASA to save his family farm. He still wants to go into space however and so sets out to build a rocket inside his barn. By the time the movie starts the rocket is pretty much put together so we aren’t burdened with how he gets his supplies. All Charles needs now is 10 000 pounds of fuel which shoots up a big red flag with the government--a government that now considers Charles a threat--while the media look at him as a big story. But no matter the odds nothing can deter Charles from his dream to break through the atmosphere and orbit the earth. It’s refreshing to see Thornton as a loving father who wants to inspire his kids rather than make them go get him another beer. Of course Charles Farmer isn’t all sweetness and light—he’s an obvious eccentric whose obsession to launch into space effects the entire family—and it’s definitely a role right up Thornton’s alley. Virginia Madsen does an admirable job as the loving and supportive wife who nonetheless puts her foot down when things get out of hand while Bruce Dern plays the grizzled but equally supportive father-in-law. There’s also a supportive lawyer played by Tim Blake Nelson. In fact besides the big evil NASA chief (J.K. Simmons) and two bungling FBI agents (Mark Polish and Jon Gries) everyone supports Charles in his crazy dream. How could he fail? From the writing-directing team of Michael and Mark Polish (Northfork) Astronaut Farmer is pure old-school—an unassuming throwback to those feel-good movies of the ‘40s and ‘50s. In fact Thornton told Hollywood.com he considers this his “Jimmy Stewart” movie. While the Polish brothers based Charles Farmer on their own eccentric father and obviously harbor their own boyhood dreams of being an astronaut the guys still follow a nice and simple formula finding some good actors to carry it out and adding cool visual effects when they can. Yes the more cynical moviegoer may look at Astronaut Farmer as completely improbable and trite. But those willing to be taken back to a simpler time--when movies were about walking out triumphant--should find watching Astronaut Farmer a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.