Worst Previews yesterday ran a story declaring that James Cameron was interested in directing the follow up to Prometheus, much as he directed Aliens after Ridley Scott’s original Alien. It was an April Fool. Their source link gave it away, pointing to a .gif declaring that the reader had been tricked.
Today, verbatim quotes from that article turned up on The Guardian‘s website. They clearly hadn’t clicked through on Worst Preview’s source link, and obviously hand’t done any kind of fact checking – the thing these “old media” institutions are supposed to be king of.
But Deadline‘s behaviour is even more embarrassing, I think. According to their report on this non-existent film, Cameron was speaking to The Guardian directly – again, Deadline clearly didn’t even follow any kind of source link or try to trace the story to its roots.
And before long, Deadline were besieged with comments telling them that they’d been pranked. So Mike Fleming updated the story with this:
Insiders tell me that James Cameron was making a slightly humorous off handed comment about making aPrometheus sequel and they’d be surprised if it amounted to anything, considering how busy the director will be preoccupied with Avatar sequels.
But that’s just a lie! The source of the story was never Cameron, it was a joke made by Worst Previews, quoted verbatim by The Guardian and mistakenly attributed as a Guardian-sourced piece by Deadline who are now telling tall tales, presumably in order to save face.
Meanwhile, I’m just laughing.
Last week, when I told you that I’d verified the name of the new Turtles movie was just Ninja Turtles, several sites were happy to link and take hits but some condescended to frame this as “rumour, rumour, rumour” all along the way. Even though I was at great pains to stress how I had verified the facts. I agree that they should have reported these claims as no more than my version of events, but hammering a rumour flag into the story every few words? Overkill.
One day later, Michael Bay told the world what I had already said. You know, I would’t have used the word verified if I hadn’t meant it.
And… meanwhile, everything Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline offer up gets taken on face value.
It’s very frustrating that I can’t get many agents to take my calls and confirm or deny any stories I’m chasing, and it’s impossible to get a good lock-down on some of the leads I pick up – really, you wouldn’t believe the number of stories I’ve had to just let come out elsewhere because I couldn’t be sure they added up – and there’s obviously something very incestuous about this whole “game” that prevents the “little guys” like Bleeding Cool getting ahead.
But still, every now and then, it all works out for the best. Or at least the funniest…