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Casting Net: Joel McHale's 'Friggin' Christmas Miracle'; Plus Peter Dinklage, Kathy Bates, and more

• Joel McHale, Robin Williams, and Lauren Graham have signed on star in the new holiday comedy A Friggin’ Christmas Miracle. Lorelai Gilmore and Jeff Winger will play a married couple forced to spend Christmas with their crazy extended family. On Christmas Eve, Boyd (McHale) realizes he forgot to bring his son’s gifts and embarks on an eight-hour road trip with his father (Williams) to retrieve them before his son wakes up. British director Tristram Shapeero, best known for directing television shows like Community and New Girl, will make his feature film debut directing the project. [THR]

Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage is set to star in A Long Way Home, described as an “epic adventure about friendship, courage, magic, adventure and the lengths one boy will go to reunite his family.” Production designer Paki Smith (set decorator on The Dark Knight Rises and Batman Begins) will direct the project. [Variety]

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Common talks 'LUV' and working with Danny Glover and Anson Mount - EXCLUSIVE CLIP

In LUV, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival a year ago and comes out in theaters Jan. 18, Common plays a man both tough and tender.

As Vincent, the reformed ex-con former drug dealer uncle of 11-year-old Baltimore orphan Woody, played by Michael Rainey Jr., Common navigates the ghosts of a past filled with crime and violence, with Woody coming along for the ride.

Check out this exclusive clip from the film, below, in which the rapper-actor and Rainey Jr. — wearing spiffy suits — visit Danny Glover’s character, a meeting both laugh-filled and intense. Glover, at one point, jokingly calls Woody “little Barack.” EW talked to Common about working with Glover and Rainey Jr., made even more special since he doesn’t have a son himself, what it’s like to watch violence on-screen, and his excitement about continuing AMC’s Hell on Wheels with Anson Mount for a third season.
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Casting Net: Bryan Cranston joining thriller 'Eye of Winter.' Plus: Christopher Meloni, Richard Dreyfuss, Gloria Reuben

• Bryan CranstonAlice Eve (Sex and the City 2, next summer’s Star Trek Into Darkness), and Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) will star in Eye of Winter, an indie thriller about a lifelong crook (Cranston) who is going blind (too much blue meth?), and therefore decides to kidnap a mother (Eve) and her daughter to help him land a bounty of cash from a corrupt cop (Marshall-Green). Tze Chun (Children of Invention) will direct from a script he wrote with Osgood Perkins and Nick Simon (Removal). [Variety]

• Christopher Meloni (NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, HBO’s True Blood) is in talks to star in White Bird in a Blizzard, an indie drama from writer-director Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin) about a woman dealing with her suddenly missing mother. Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), Eva Green (Casino Royale), Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood), and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) costar. [Deadline]

• Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Glover, Danny Masterson, and Jon Heder will star in the dark comedy Killing Winston Jones, about an elementary school teacher (Masterson) who schemes to get the school gym named after his dad (Dreyfuss). The catch: The honoree must be dead, and his pops isn’t. Yet. Actor Joel David Moore (Avatar) will direct from a script by first timer Justin T. Winters. [Variety]

• Gloria Reuben (Lincoln) will join Samuel L. Jackson and Dominic Cooper (The Devil’s Double) in the thriller Reasonable Doubt, about an assistant district attorney who obsesses over a man acquitted from a hit-and-run accident that killed someone. Reuben will play a veteran police detective. Peter Howitt (Sliding Doors) will direct the indie from a script by Peter Dowling (Flightplan). [Deadline]

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Casting Net: Charlize Theron signs on as doc narrator. Plus Liam Neeson, Bruce McGill
Casting Net: Kelsey Grammer, Kyra Sedgwick join ensemble of ‘Reach Me.’ Plus: Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl plan ‘The Nut Job’
Casting Net: Tom Hardy plugging into ‘Splinter Cell.’ Plus: Benicio del Toro, Alexander Skarsgard, Evan Rachel Wood

Brad Pitt introduces 'War on Drugs' documentary 'The House I Live In,' jokes about past drug use

A-list celebrities and cause-related documentaries go together like bread and peanut butter, from Johnny Depp supporting the film West of Memphis at the Toronto International Film Festival to now Brad Pitt throwing his weight behind the newly released documentary The House I Live In, examining the sad complexities of America’s “War on Drugs.”

Pitt made a surprise appearance on Friday night at the Sundance Sunset Cinema in West Hollywood to introduce the film, directed by Eugene Jarecki.

His opening line? A zinger.

“I’m Brad Pitt and I’m a drug addict,” the star jokingly told the audience. “My drug days have long since passed, but I could probably land in any American city and within 24 hours find whatever you want. But we still support this charade called the drug war. We spent a trillion dollars over 40 years and a lot of people have lost their lives over it.”

Pitt has signed on as the documentary’s executive producer; other co-producers include Russell Simmons, John Legend and Danny Glover.

“Drugs are more than just ‘immoral,’ they keep people down. This movie humanizes this ‘war,”’ Pitt said during his intro of the film, which looks at the criminal justice system, from inmates to judges. The House I Live In snagged the documentary grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

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Toronto Film Festival: Johnny Depp just a friend sharing his support, Tater Tots for ‘West of Memphis’

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