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'Horror' renewed, '666' & 'Resort' gone; casting on Starz's 'Black Sails'; new 'Popeye' & 'Transylvania 2'; more 'Pinocchio'

FX’s anthology series American Horror Story has been renewed for a third season of bat-shit cray-cray. Actress Jessica Lange, who has found a whole new generation of fans thanks to her Emmy and Golden Globe winning role on the series, will return as well.

Two video games are heading to the big screen, as CBS Films will bring Deus Ex: Human Revolution, while Warner Bros. is looking to sign Tom Hardy to star in their version of Splinter Cell, which was created with the help of Tom Clancy and has spawned several successful tie-in novels.


ABC has decided not to order the back nine for either 666 Park Avenue or Last Resort. However, both shows will remain on the air through the 13 episodes that the network ordered. So, both shows will remain in production, perhaps giving the creators a chance to finish off their tales. Both should eventually land on Hulu or Netflix so fans can re-watch them and, perhaps, if enough find them, a resurrection.

Casting continues on Starz’s new eight-episode pirate series Black Sails, that is a prequel series set about 20 years before the events of Robert Louis Stevensons classic high seas adventure novel, Treasure Island. Zach McGowan, Luke Arnold and Jessica Parker Kennedy (the CW’s The Secret Circle) are recent adds. McGowan will play Captain Charles Vane, a rival to the feared buccaneer Captain Flint (Toby Stephens), whose exploits serve as the focal point of the series.  Arnold will take on the role of the iconic seafarer John Silver in the years before his well-known feats. Meanwhile, Kennedy is cast as Max, a tortured young prostitute. Additional cast members include Hakeem Kae Kazim (Hotel Rwanda), Toby Schmitz (The Pacific) and Clara Paget (The Fast and The Furious 6). Production begins this fall in Cape Town, South Africa and is expected to debut on the premium cable net in early 2014.

Voice actress Lucille Bliss, who brought Smurfette to life in the old Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, The Smurfs, died November 8, 2012 at the age of 96 of natural causes. Animation historian Charles Solomon told the Los Angeles Times that, “She was a pioneer in television animation.” In the 1950’s, she was the voice of the popular Crusader Rabbit and was Sunflower and Turnip in Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. In the 60’s she lent her voice for Elroy Jetson on The Jestons and Bamm Bamm Rubble on The Flintstones. She also provided voice work for modern audiences, including Mrs. Bitters on Invader Zim and as Yagoda on 2 episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Sony Animation has scheduled September 26, 2014 for an updated 3D Popeye movie from director Genndy Tartakovsky and The Smurfs writers Jay Scherick and David Ronn. Tartakovsky has also signed on to helm Hotel Transylvania 2, slotted for September 25, 2015. I’m guessing the voice actors have options for a sequel, but Sony would not confirm if anyone of them would be back.

Warner Bros has brought in Jane Goldman to rework Bryan Fuller’s original updated script for a live action version of Pinocchio to star Robert Downey, Jr. and be helmed by Tim Burton. While neither actor nor director is confirmed for the project, there is hope that Goldman’s rewrite will land both of them. The new take on the classic story would find Downey Jr. playing Geppetto, the woodcarver responsible for creating the puppet boy Pinocchio who comes to life.  When Pinocchio goes missing, Geppetto must embark on a quest to bring him back.  This is one of three Pinocchio-centered projects in development at the moment, including a stop-motion animated take from Guillermo del Toro and 20th Century Fox’s The Three Misfortunes of Geppetto.

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