J.J. Abrams Will Direct Star Trek 2, He Guesses

Unlike some people, J.J. Abrams sees his highly lucrative franchises through to the end. He’s nearing an agreement to direct Star Trek 2, the sequel to 2009’s $260 million-grossing original. The only problem: He won’t finish writing and shooting in time for the June 29, 2012 release that Paramount had hoped for. So the studio will open G.I. Joe that weekend instead, since they can probably knock that one out in a week or two. Grade: B+ [Deadline]

Jennifer Lopez is expected to sign a deal this week to return to the judges’ table for the next season of American Idol. She was presumed to be holding out for more money and a chair farther from Steven Tyler. Grade: B [HR]

Walking Dead executive producer Glen Mazzara will succeed the departed Frank Darabont as show-runner. Mazzara was the writer behind Season 1’s least bad episode, so fingers crossed. Grade: B+ [Deadline]

For those who like their creative grave-robbing literal: Gil Cosby, a producer on the original HBO show, is resurrecting Tales From the Crypt for a new hour-long TV series. Grade: B- [Deadline]

Animal Kingdom‘s Jacki Weaver will join Chan-wook Park’s Stoker, the excellent-sounding thriller whose cast already includes Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode and whose screenplay was inexplicably written by Wentworth Miller from Prison Break. Grade: A [Deadline]

Arrested Development‘s Alia Shawkat will star in two movies, neither of which are the Arrested Development one. Grade: B+ [Variety]

Cody Horn, the daughter of former Warner Bros. COO Alan Horn, will star with Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, and America Ferrera in Training Day director David Ayer’s End of Watch, for which she beat out a bunch of other actresses who weren’t the daughter of Warner Bros. COO Alan Horn. Grade: C [HR]

David Oyelowo, who thought he was going to play Martin Luther King Jr. in Lee Daniels’ Selma, will instead star in the Precious director’s The Paperboy — as a journalist who teams with another writer (Matthew McConaughey) to investigate the fishy murder conviction of a death row inmate (John Cusack) — while he waits for Daniels to get his act together on the other movie. Grade: B [Deadline]

Filed Under: American Idol, End of Watch, Glen Mazzara, Grading the Trades, J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Lopez, Star Trek, The Walking Dead