Casting Roundup : Connolly, Long, Goodman, Portman, Bennett, Molina, Purefoy, Hulme..

Billy Connolly is the final cast member aboard “The Hobbit”. He’s playing the feared leader dwarf, Dain Ironfoot.(Herald-Sun)

One-time “West Wing” guestie John Goodman is set to play a major role in Clint Eastwood’s baseball drama “The Trouble with the Curve”. The film, about an ageing baseball scout on one final hunt, is playing “an old-school scout and longtime friend of Eastwood’s character who still believes in the man’s ability to spot talent.” (Variety)

Justin Long (“Live Free or Die Hard”) will write and produce a new indie comedy for himself, Evan Rachel Wood (“True Blood”) and Peter Dinklage (“I Love You Too”) to star in. “A Case of You” tells of “a young writer who tries to impress a girl he meets online with an embellished profile, but finds himself in a real mess when she falls for him and he has to keep up the act.” (Variety)

Natalie Portman, back after her pregnancy pause, has signed for two Terry Malick films “Lawless” and “Knight of the Cups”. Interestingly enough, the latter features Aussie soapie star Isabel Lucas – quite a plum gig for her! (Deadline)

Haley Bennett (“The Hole 3D”) has, like Ms Portman, snagged herself two movies this week : “Ella Walks the Beach”, about a young woman who wanders up and down the beach over a 24-hour period considering her newly single status, and “Deep Powder”, the Mo Ogrodnik-directed film being made by Killer Films. (Deadline)

“Spider-Man 2″ villain Alfred Molina has joined the cast of the new David E.Kelley/TNT medical drama “Chelsea General”. ” Based on CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta’s upcoming novel Monday Mornings, the project follows the lives of five surgeons as they push the limits of their abilities and confront their personal and professional failings. It uses as a backdrop the hospital’s Monday Morbidity and Mortality conference, considered the most secretive meeting in all of medicine, where doctors gather for a confidential review of complications and errors in patient care. Molina will play Dr. Harding Hooten, the steely-eyed Chief of Surgery at Chelsea General, known for his punishing and outwardly-uncaring ways. He heads up a weekly meeting in which doctors are lauded for their good work, or criticized (even fired) for their mistakes.” Bill Irwin, Jennifer Finnigan and “Battlestar Galactica” alum Jamie Bamber are already onboard. (Deadline)

“Harry Potter” alum Tom Felton is in negotiations to star opposite Elizabeth Olsen and Glenn Close in ”Therese Raquin”, a thriller about a young woman who is haunted by the ghost of her dead husband – whom she murdered. (Deadline)

“Thor” star Jaimie Alexander has snagged the female lead in the new action film “Intersection”. Frank Grillo (“The Grey”) has the lead role in the film as a man whose wife (Alexander) plots with her lover to murder him. (Variety)

One of my oldest and most trusted mates, Lachy Hulme (“Any Questions for Ben?”, “Boytown”) is set to pile on the pounds to play TV tycoon Kerry Packer in “Howzat: The Kerry Packer Story”. Lachy added some flab to his frame to play Beaconsfield miner Russell Todd in the upcoming Channel 9 mini-series “Beaconsfield”, but quickly had to lose it to resume his role on TEN’s “Offspring”. “I gained 25 kilos to play Todd. Then I lost 20(kg) to resume my role in Offspring this year…and now Packer. I’m just hoping he was a bit different in size back then because you know I’m 40 now and can’t keep doing it to myself.” Proud of ya, mate. (The Herald-Sun)

“Rome” alum James Purefoy will star opposite Kevin Bacon in that new CW series from “Scream” creator Kevin Williamson. The untitled series is described as “an edge-of-the-seat thriller about Joe Carroll (Purefoy) a diabolical serial killer who uses technology to create a cult of serial killers, and a retired FBI profiler (Bacon) who finds himself in the middle of it.” Williamson, also the man behind ”The Vampire Diaries” and the shitter-than-shit “Cursed”, is writing and executive producing. (MWB)