Josh Hartnett Heads to Television

Today in showbiz news: Josh Harnett books a good gig, The CW is heading back to the superhero well, and Anna Torv makes many a nerd fantasy come true.

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Showtime presented at the annual Television Critics Association press tour today, talking about new and existing shows on their docket. One of the news shows is Penny Dreadful, a limited-run series about monsters like Frankenstein and whatnot rattling around London with a bunch of issues and stuff. Yes, it's a serious psychological drama (and sexy thriller) about Frankenstein and Dorian Gray and other jerks like that being sad. And now it has its stars! Penny Dreadful will star Eva Green and, gasp, Josh Hartnett. Remember Josh Hartnett?? He's the old Here On Earth heartthrob (well, to some he's the 40 Days and 40 Nights heartthrob, to others the Pearl Harbor heartthrob, and to some the Halloween: H20 heartthrob, but to me he will always be the Here On Earth heartthrob, even though that movie is terrible) who's had an interesting if inconsistent career in his adulthood. But now he's got this, a big monster-y, sexy Showtime series. Good for him! The series starts shooting this fall in London and will air next spring. Will it be good, this emo-sounding League of Extraordinary Ghouls? Who's to say. But at least it's work. Right? It's work. (Does anyone know him as the Lucky Number Slevin heartthrob?) [The Hollywood Reporter]

Also at TCAs, The CW announced plans for an Arrow spinoff about The Flash, the superhero that runs fast. That's what he does, The Flash. He runs fast. Need a guy to run fast? Get The Flash. Need a guy to lift heavy things? Call Superman, who can also run fast. But if you need a guy to just run fast, and nothing else, you get The Flash. I mean, I guess he can do other things because he runs so fast, but mostly he runs fast. The CW thinks that's pretty neat, so they're working with Arrow co-creators Greg "Green Lantern" Berlanti and Andrew "Warehouse 13" Kreisberg to do a Flash show. It'll be called Flash instead of The Flash, because no one wants any associations with this turkey. Losing the article will definitely distance this new show from the one starring Dawson's dad. This is still very much in development, so there was no talk about who might star in such a series, but they should probably just get Usain Bolt, right? That'd be fun. Like Baryshnikov in White Nights, or Kurt Thomas in Gymkata. Come on, CW. Be sensible here. [Deadline]

Oh dear. Shonda Rhimes, the woman responsible for the quick-talk ludicrousness of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal (I'm sorry, I know everyone loves that sexxxy show these days, but I watched the pilot on an airplane yesterday and holy hell was it dumb, and I mean really, really dumb — I'm sure it gets better, but how did anyone continue watching it after that first episode, which was, I must repeat, really really dumb?), is writing a feature length movie. It's about war correspondents and it's called War Correspondents. Probably the war correspondents have messy love lives and one is cute/perky/frazzled and someone else is a total Boss who talks in grand, vague aphorisms that are supposed to make them sound smart and edgy and tough but in reality read like they're from a Screenwriting 101 class at Tommy Tinseltown's Hollywood Education Annex. Look, Rhimes has written movies before, like Britney Spears's Crossroads and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, but something tells me that this new War Correspondents script might be problematically emboldened by the wild success of Rhimes's three television shows. And that's troubling. That said, who should play the war correspondents?? [>The Hollywood Reporter]

If your nerd friend just had to excuse themselves and "go to the bathroom for a second," it might be because Fringe blonde bombshell Anna Torv has signed on to play a sexy lesbian in Ryan Murphy's sexy new sex show, Open. Torv would play Jennifer Jason Leigh's lover on the HBO series, which you might want to gently remind your friend, who's now back from the bathroom with their hair mussed and looking flush, is just a pilot. This thing may never see the light of day! But, if it does, yes, that is happening. Now go leave your friend alone. They... need some time. [TV Line]

Ben Stiller really is trying to get serious. The Weinstein Company is in negotiations to produce a screenplay called The Current War, which is not about any of the current miseries befalling the world at the moment. No, Stiller, who is one of the directors currently "circling" the project, isn't getting that serious. But it is a period drama about "power titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse's battle over the supply of electricity." It's about the whole AC vs. DC fight. So that's at least a period piece about science. I'm sure that there's some humor there, but it's mostly about the entire world changing because of electricity. And Ben Stiller wants to direct it. Who knows if he'll actually get the gig, but that he's interested at all indicates that he's heading in a new direction. Which could be interesting. Or it could be The Beaver. Only one way to find out. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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