Natalie Portman joins cast of 'Thor'

LOS ANGELES - 'Star Wars' co-star Natalie Portman is storming back into action films with a role in the comic-book adaptation 'Thor.'

The 28-year-old Portman has been cast as Jane Foster, who was a nurse and first love of the title character in the Marvel Comics. According to Marvel Studios, the character is being updated for the movie version of 'Thor,' in which the Norse warrior is cast down to Earth to live among humans.

Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor in the movie, which begins shooting early next year. It is due in theaters May 20, 2011. Kenneth Branagh is directing 'Thor.'

The movie is part of an ambitious schedule for Marvel Studios, including 'Iron Man 2,' 'The First Avenger: Captain America' and 'The Avengers.'

Neil Patrick Harris to host CBS' Emmys

NEW YORK - Neil Patrick Harris, who won critical acclaim hosting last month's Tonys, will fill the same role for the prime-time Emmys.

He had been rumored for more than a week to have the job. CBS made it official Monday.

'After having had such a hoot hosting the Tonys, I was thrilled to get the call about the prime-time Emmys,' said Harris, adding that he looks forward to 'adding my own voice' to the ceremony: 'But which voice to choose? I'm torn between gangsta, foppish Brit, and robot. Really proud of my robot. We'll see what happens on the night.'

Harris, 36, will also serve as a producer for the CBS broadcast, which will air live Sept. 20 from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Seacrest signs deal for 'Idol'

NEW YORK - Ryan Seacrest has signed a lucrative new deal that keeps him hosting 'American Idol' through 2012 as well as participating in new projects.

The partnership, announced Monday by 19 Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of CKX Inc., provides an opportunity for on-air-personality/producer Seacrest and his Ryan Seacrest Productions banner to work with 'American Idol' creator Simon Fuller on new entertainment endeavors.

Although the announcement specified no dollar figure, The Hollywood Reporter pegged the deal at $45 million.