SAM WORTHINGTON SETTLES HIS DEBT
No Na’vi here. But Avatar‘s Sam Worthington is still kicking butt in The Debt, an upcoming drama costarring Helen Mirren. The film (out Dec. 29) tells the story of a former Mossad agent (Mirren) who must revisit a decades-old mission that led to the death of a notorious Nazi war criminal. Where does Worthington come in? He plays a fellow agent in the flashbacks. — Kate Stroup
Chaka Khan and Clay Aiken Duet
The Aug. 6 episode of Disney Channel’s animated series Phineas and Ferb features cameos from Chaka Khan (right) and American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken (center), who belt out an original song, ”I Believe We Can.” ”That’s my message in all aspects of life,” says the ’70s and ’80s pop diva. ”I’d do anything that lifts kids up.” —Tanner Stransky
Jerry Rice Guest Stars on I'm In The Band
He’s already proven he can dance. Now NFL great Jerry Rice is ready to rock! The Dancing with the Stars alum guest stars on an upcoming episode of Disney XD’s I’m In The Band. (The special one-hour episode is slated to air next year.) The football hall of famer — center, with series stars (from left to right) Logan Miller, Stephen Full, Steve Valentine, and Greg Baker — plays himself, as he attempts to help the members of Iron Weasel sneak into a football stadium. —Kate Stroup
A Rule to Live By
My Name is Earl‘s Jaime Pressly and Adventureland‘s Martin Starr team up with writer-director-star Blayne Weaver in 6 Month Rule. In this recently-wrapped indie, Weaver plays a man who’s convinced he can get over any woman in six months. Here, Tyler eggs on his best friend Alan (Starr, right) as he confronts his former fiancée (Pressly). —KS
Here's to the Heart-broken
Tequila to the rescue! After yet another breakup in 6 Month Rule, Tyler (Blayne Weaver, right) talks women and politics — while taking a little liquid refreshment — with his pal Kenny (Brandon Barrera). —KS
Weeds Hits the Road
The sixth season of Showtime’s Weeds (premiering Aug. 16) finds Mary-Louise Parker’s suburban drug dealer on the run and forced to assume a variety of identities and disguises. In the fourth episode, Nancy flees to ”a town near the Canadian border and gets a job at a hotel,” explains Parker, who says the new locations have reenergized the comedy. ”We get a new script and we’ll be like, ‘Montana?’ It’s fun because it really opens up who ?[our characters] interact with.” —Michael Ausiello
Zach Galifianakis Goes Nuts for It's Kind of a Funny Story
The offbeat comedy (out Sept. 24) stars United States of Tara‘s Keir Gilchrist as a stressed-out teen who commits himself to a psych ward, where he gets life advice from patients, including Bobby (Zach Galifianakis). ”The concept of the movie is like a teen version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” says producer Kevin Misher. ”But the tone is more similar to The Breakfast Club. It’s funny.” —Adam Markovitz
It's Always Sunny Makes Way for Baby
Paddy’s Pub is not the best place to raise a child. In fact, it may be one of the worst. But that’s not stopping ?FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia from writing Kaitlin Olson’s real-life pregnancy (Dad is costar Rob McElhenney) into this fall’s season 6. ”It’s a huge relief,” she says. ”Trying not to look pregnant when you are is not fun. Now I can be as fat as I want.” —Keith Staskiewicz
Paul Bettany Battles the Undead
Bettany plays a vampire-hunting man of the cloth in Priest (due out in 2011), set ?in a dystopian future where the bloodsuckers are confined to reservations. ”In our world, priests are like Jedi Knights with special powers and training,” explains director Scott Stewart (Legion). ”Our vampires are more feral and disturbing than, say, the teen-angst vampires of Twilight or the sexy vampires of True Blood. Those vampires are metaphors. Ours aren’t.” —Adam Markovitz
Emma Stone Cleans Up for a New Film
The teen comedy Easy A (out Sept. 17) stars Zombieland‘s Emma Stone as a high schooler who accidentally gets a bad-girl reputation after she lies about having sex. Director Will Gluck conceived this hair-raising shower scene as a nod to John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But there was one small problem: ”Her hair doesn’t really do that,” confesses Gluck. ”So our awesome hair lady had to make a prosthetic and stick it under Emma’s hair.” —Adam Markovitz
Peter Gallagher Makes Rescue Me Heavenly
The O.C. and American Beauty costar (right) joins the fireman drama as a priest in a multi-episode story arc beginning July 13. He counsels Denis Leary’s character, Tommy Gavin, who ”has a near-death experience and is really questioning the meaning of life,” explains Rescue Me co-creator and executive producer Peter Tolan. ”So Peter becomes the person that he goes to looking for answers.” Tolan is full of praise for the newest member ? of the show’s cast: ”He’s a very agreeable guy. We really only employ one d—. And that’s me.” —Clark Collis
Kevin Bacon Gets Bored
Bacon makes everything better. The HBO comedy Bored to Death will feature the inimitable Kevin Bacon in a fall episode of the upcoming second season. The actor (left) will be playing himself, or, according to series creator Jonathan Ames, ”a very fictional version of himself.” (He guest-stars opposite Zach Galifianakis, center, and Kristen Wiig, right.) ”Kevin is in so many movies, but he’s so good and so different in them,” says Ames. ”And now I’m at a zero degree of separation.” —Keith Staskiewicz
The Kick-Ass Girl Goes Vamp
Fresh from playing Kick-Ass‘ precocious killing machine Hit Girl, Chloë Grace Moretz stars in Let Me In (out Oct.1), a remake of the critically acclaimed 2008 Swedish vampire flick Let the Right One In. But before the 13-year-old walked onto the set, her parents laid down some boundaries. “They wouldn’t let me see the original,” she says, admitting, ”Scary movies are waaayyy too scary for me. I like romantic comedies.” Even so, playing a neck biter did offer some novel pleasures. ”I’d never been doused with blood before. It was awesome!” ?—Chris Nashawaty
Degrassi Takes Manhattan
Our favorite Canadian high schoolers hit the big city in the latest Degrassi movie, airing July 19 on TeenNick. Here, the gang — Jane (Paula Brancati), Holly J. (Charlotte Arnold), Declan (Landon Liboiron), and Fiona (Annie Clark) — pile into one of NYC’s iconic yellow cabs. The TV mini-movie kicks off Degrassi: The Boiling Point, a six-week summer event with new episodes airing every weekday at 9 p.m. —Jennifer Armstrong
The Degrassi flick finds Holly J. (Charlotte Arnold, left) pursuing her dream TV internship — and getting an impromptu Times Square pep talk from America’s Next Top Model‘s Jay Manuel (right). ”You get right back into the accent,” says Manuel, who grew up in Toronto. ”I’ve been in New York for 17 years, but I just said pro-cess.” —Jennifer Armstrong
It's a My Boys Time Warp!
Ever wonder how P.J. (Jordana Spiro) first became friends with Stephanie (Kellee Stewart, right)? Here’s your chance to find out. In the flashback-filled season 4 opener of My Boys (airing July 25 on TBS), the two reminisce about meeting in their Northwestern dorm.
But things get really interesting when it comes to their first encounter with Brendan (played by Reid Scott). In his version of events, the alt-cool Brendan was rocking long locks and a flannel. But P.J. and Steph seem to recall him looking like a clean-cut preppy — all the way down to the popped collar.
Jordin Sparks Does Beauty and the Beast
Both Angela Lansbury and Celine Dion belted out the title song in Disney’s 1991 hit Beauty and the Beast. Now, to mark the animated movie’s Blu-ray release on Oct. 5, American Idol champ Jordin Sparks is taking a crack at the classic — recording a new version and shooting a princess-themed video (shown here). ”We didn’t change the song too much, but it is poppier,” Sparks says. ”I wanted it to be different, so people aren’t like, ‘Oh, she’s trying to be Celine.”’ —Tanner Stransky
Christina Hendricks — in Space!
Both members of alt-pop superduo Broken Bells (producer Danger Mouse and singer James Mercer from the Shins) are big Mad Men fans. So when it was time to cast the beautiful android in their video for ”The Ghost Inside,” they immediately thought of the show’s Christina Hendricks. ”We assumed we would ask and that’d be it,” Mercer says. ”She’s got to be so busy, and who the hell are we? But she said yes! Turns out she’s a fan of our record.” —Simon Vozick-Levinson
So what’s the plot? Hendricks plays a hard-working android who wants to retire to an outer-space resort community. The voyage brings Hendricks’ character into contact with Mercer (right) and Danger Mouse, a.k.a. Brian Burton. On that meeting, Mercer remains mum. When it comes to her spaceship trip, he only offers, ”Things happen along the way that make it difficult.” —SVL
Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci Run a Brothel in Love Ranch
The Oscar-winning stars play husband-and-wife bordello owners caught in a love triangle in this 1970s-set drama (out June 30) loosely based on real events. To transform from Dame to madam, Mirren toured an actual brothel, Nevada’s famous Mustang Ranch. “I was there for hours, just soaking up the atmosphere,” she tells EW. ”Luckily, I don’t think customers recognized me. It’s very dark in those places, you know.” —Adam Markovitz
Miley Duets with Dolly!
It’s a dream country collaboration: The legendary Dolly Parton joins forces with Miley Cyrus to sing ”Jolene” in the Hallmark Channel special marking the 25th anniversary of Dollywood, the theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (The special — also including appearances by Miley’s papa, Billy Ray Cyrus, and, of course, Dolly’s frequent sing-along pal, Kenny Rogers — airs July 3 at 8 p.m.) —Kate Stroup
Juliette Lewis Goes to Memphis
Bring on the interrogation scene! On June 29, Oscar nominee Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear) guest-stars on Jason Lee’s new cop show, Memphis Beat (TNT), playing a hardworking wife and mother whose husband has disappeared. —Kate Stroup
Jane Lynch Returns to Party Down
Get ready, Gleeks! Jane Lynch takes a break from playing Glee‘s tracksuited Sue Sylvester to guest-star on the season 2 finale of Party Down (airing June 25 on Starz). The former series regular is back as Constance — and she’s getting married! (Alex Rocco, left, plays her soon-to-be groom, Howard.) Says a show rep, ”She’s hired all of her best Party Down friends [including Megan Mullally’s Lydia, right] to make sure they attend.”
Down the Aisle Again!
Playing a blushing bride shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for Lynch, who married her real-life love, psychiatrist Lara Embry, on Memorial Day. The comedian will also get to put her Glee training to the test, when Karma Rocket (the band fronted by Kyle Bradway’s Ryan, right) perform live.
George Clooney's Girlfriend Appears on Leverage
Elisabetta Canalis may be a big-time TV personality in Italy, but in the U.S. she’s known mostly as George Clooney’s arm candy. Her profile will rise June 20, when Canalis starts a five-episode stint on TNT’s Leverage, playing a femme fatale (known only as ”The Italian”) who tempts Timothy Hutton’s character, Nate. It’s her first major English-language role, but exec producer Dean Devlin says the actress quickly found her groove. ”By take 3 or 4, she was just soaring,” he says. ”There’s no doubt she’s going to have a bright future here.” —Keith Staskiewicz
David Hasselhoff Scrubs In for The Young and the Restless
On June 15, David Hasselhoff returns to Genoa City as Dr. William ”Snapper” Foster — the same pre?Knight Rider role he played on the CBS soap from 1975 to 1982. The dashing doc is back for five episodes to care for his sick mom, Liz (Julianna McCarthy), and deal with family drama involving his sister, Jill (Jess Walton, top right), and Liz’s friend Katherine (Jeanne Cooper, center). ”I adore those people,” says Hasselhoff, who took the trip down memory lane with his real-life daughter Taylor, who plays the nurse (far left). ”They’re still like family to me.” —Lynette Rice
Royal Pains Gets Moving
In season 2 of USA’s Hamptons-set Royal Pains, debuting June 3, concierge doctor Hank (Mark Feuerstein, left) digs deeper into the mystery illness plaguing his top client, Boris. Research takes the M.D. and his brother, Evan (Paulo Costanzo, right), all the way to Cuba for two episodes. (They actually shot in Puerto Rico.) The real reason for the trip? Steering clear of New York’s iffy spring weather. Says Feuerstein: ”It’s a way of avoiding what we called the royal rains last season.” —Mandi Bierly
Chasing the sun
With a larger order of 18 sun-filled episodes this TV season, production on Royal Pains began even earlier in the spring. So the cast (including Campbell Scott, left, who plays Boris) and crew headed south in search of sunshine. And the weather in New York while they were gone? ”Sunny, 75, and perfect,” sighs Feuerstein. —MB
Chad Lowe Plays a Philandering Dad
On ABC Family’s new series Pretty Little Liars (premiering June 8), based on the young-adult mystery novels, Lowe appears as a professor who had an affair with a student. He’s not the only one with secrets. The show follows a teen queen’s disappearance — and the revealing messages she still seems to be sending to her BFFs, including the professor’s daughter, Aria. ”I may, at 42, not quite be the target audience for this show,” says Lowe (pictured with Holly Marie Combs, who plays his wife). ”But it’s a complicated, adult story that’s relatable and a lot of fun to portray.” —Jennifer Armstrong