Anghus Houvouras with the five biggest lies about Batman vs. Superman….
Since the announcement of Batman vs. Superman, the internet has been abuzz with activity. Speculation about casting, plot points, and various other details hit the web with the kind of reckless publication that is indicative of the current state of internet journalism: i.e. piss poor. We’ve learned surprisingly little about the films, but an awful lot about the websites claiming to be “in the know”. The internet has become a minefield for anyone in search of the truth. Specifically when it comes to movies. A thousand websites have popped up over the years, all claiming to have insider information and willing to post anything in order to maintain healthy ad revenue. Follow me through this web of lies as we look at the five biggest lies that originated from Batman vs. Superman….
1. “(Insert name of actor) is being considered for the role of Batman”
The casting reports were the worst, because all of them were based on paper thin premises and cobbled together based on pre-existing relationships. Wes Bentley is filming Interstellar with Man of Steel producer and Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan. Obviously he must be in the running for Batman. Stories are written based on the most tenuous of connections or completely fabricated. If you read the story about how Ben Affleck came on board, there were months of negotiations going on. And yet every website was out there hocking their conspiracy theories about Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Wes Bentley, Richard Armitage, and any other actor with any associations to Warner Bros. The claim was that the studio was ‘interested’ in these actors and were screen testing. But the reality was many of these claims were nothing more than conjecture from websites looking to generate web traffic. All that is required is a headline with a question mark at the end:
Is Warner Bros. looking to cast X as Batman?
That question mark there should tell you right away: they don’t know.
2. “We were aware of this project’s existence”
99% of the news you read about Batman vs. Superman didn’t even hit the web until San Diego Comic-Con announcement. Spotting a con is easy these days. Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman had been in the process for a while, dating back before the announcement at Comic-Con. And yet, the vast majority of articles about potential casting hit the net in the subsequent days after the announcement. No one was talking about this film prior to the announcement. There had been some buzz in the days leading up to the Man of Steel panel. Most of it was leaked intentionally by Warner Bros. to targeted outlets.
3. “Trusted Sources”
If we learned nothing this year, it’s that any movie related website websites constantly referencing ‘inside sources’ don’t have any. The words ‘trusted sources’ on some websites might as well be called “shit we made up”. Batman vs. Superman has exposed a lot of these websites. There are no trusted sources. Only the publicists who leak information at the behest of the studios. Those secretive days of insiders leaking information to websites is long over. They plugged those holes years ago.
4. “Christian Bale will play Batman in a Justice League movie”
If there was an award for websites brokering in complete fabrication, Latino Review would win for lifetime achievement. They’ve mastered the art of brokering bullshit, but achieved new lows when they made the claim that Warner Bros. had pursued Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan for a Justice League film. Like most of their stories, this one turned out to be nothing but speculation and outright lies.
It’s only tragic because every other site continues to link to the garbage posted by writers like El Mayimbe. You can’t spell El Mayimbe without “Maybe I’m” as in “Maybe I’m making all of this up.”
5. Bryan Cranston is Lex Luthor
That was the story we saw at a hundred websites in the days following the announcement of Affleck as Batman. Picked up by supposedly legitimate outlets who wanted to get on the bandwagon before realizing it was made of kindling and already in a rapid state of disintegration.
All of this is oddly reminiscent of the Star Wars: Episode VII news that flooded the net after the announcement. First there were the reports of all the directors they wanted: Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, J.J. Abrams… then the speculation on who had been approached. Before you know it, Safety Not Guaranteed’s Colin Trevorrow was the front runner. Until it was revealed he wasn’t. And after ten thousand stories based on nothing but conjecture we discover, it was Abrams. One of the first names mentioned in a giant batch of names dumped into the prospective pile.
Batman vs. Superman has taught us that there are very few people who really have a clue as to what is going on behind the scenes. And a much larger number making those claims with nothing to support their wild ramblings.
I doubt this kind of thing will shock anyone. Film websites have been selling this snake oil for years. But the fact is that there were a few hundred thousand words written about Batman vs. Superman that were either completely wrong or completely fabricated. And in this digital age no one is held accountable. Writers can be consistently wrong to an obscene level, and all is forgiven (or at least forgotten) by the time the next wild rumor hits the net. It reminds me of something from The Dark Knight….
It’s not the type of journalism Hollywood needs, but I suppose it’s the type of journalism they deserve…
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon.