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Debunking the Batman, Daredevil, X-Men Rumors

By Beth Hannan Rimmels

Obviously some people have nothing to do with their time considering all the entertainment rumors flying. I don't mean to seem cynical, folks, but after a while it does get a bit tiresome, not to mention the fact that it's downright misleading.

Gossip columnist Liz Smith reported last week that Ben Affleck was being considered by Warner Bros. to play Batman in the next film about DC Comics's legendary Dark Knight Detective. Then the rumor mill elaborated on the story, claiming that as a condition of his acceptance, Warner Bros. had to also cast Gwyneth Paltrow as Catwoman. Affleck has since denied the rumor, insisting that to his knowledge there is no active Batman film project or script.

However, people familiar with Warner Bros.' Batman history know that despite Affleck's honest denials, Warner Bros. might still be considering him. Warner Bros. has a long history of floating rumors in regard to its DC Comics properties. Based on the reaction, sometimes the studio pursues the rumored star and sometimes it doesn't. So while I believe Affleck's denial, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Ms. Smith also had a reliable source at Warner Bros for her item. Personally, while Affleck is a talented actor, he's too young looking to play Batman. Any number of other DC superheroes would be fine for Affleck, but not the Caped Crusader.

Rumors are also flying that both Stephen Norrington (Blade) and Kevin Smith (Dogma) are being considered to direct Sony's adaptation of Marvel Comics' Daredevil. Is anyone surprised? Anyone who has directed a comic book-based film is usually considered to be in the running to direct another one. Norrington in particular is assumed to at least cross studio executives' minds since Blade was another Marvel property and the first successful film based on a Marvel character.

Smith is being mentioned, of course, because of his recent run writing the Daredevil comic book. The legitimacy of either rumor is difficult to judge and Sony has not confirmed either story. Personally, Norrington has proven himself to be a more capable special effects and action director than Smith, though Smith's story arc in the comic shows that he not only loves but understands the character. In the best of both worlds, a smart producer or executive would hire Smith to write the script and Norrington to direct (hint, hint, hint), but I'm not holding my breath.

Lastly, the rumors that Bryan Singer has been fired by Twentieth-Century Fox as director of X-Men are false. However, the film's official Web site has finally debuted, but as of today, it merely contains the film's logo. New material will probably debut after the first of the new year.

In the meantime, diehard fans might want to check out the Dec. 10 journal entry on Sir Ian McKellen's Web site. McKellen is playing the role of lead villain Magneto and this entry debunks several other rumors regarding Magneto's costume and a script that supposedly makes Magneto a Nazi sympathizer. X-Men fans know that in the comic, Magneto lost his family in a Nazi death camp and his motivation is to make sure that mutants are never persecuted. His intent is admirable but his methods are deplorable, leading to much of the conflict between him and the mutant heroes the X-Men, led by Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). But that's the point of a rumor, isn't it? To be wrong most of the time.

I don't mean to rant so much, folks, but the comic book, science fiction and fantasy entertainment fields have enough trouble getting respect from mainstream media and the general public even though these genres have generated most of the highest grossing films of all time (Titanic and Home Alone are the only two in the top ten I can think of that aren't genre films). Some rumors are natural but Web sites and publications that tout such rumors as factual news only make things worse for the rest of us trying to do responsible journalism.

Or maybe I'm just in a grumpy, mid-holiday mood. Probably not. If you're interested in legitimate news on upcoming comic book films, check out the comic book news page.

Happy holidays, everyone! And a peaceful, prosperous, happy, healthy 2000 to you all (including the rumormongers).


Column 1999 Beth Hannan Rimmels






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