Casting news arrives online through a multitude of pathways. Probably the most dependable is the official press release, followed extremely closely by an actor announcing their engagement with a role during an interview. The actor might sometimes be speaking out of turn, but it hasn't happened too much.
Very often, what you see at trade papers like Variety, Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap or Deadline is a glorified press release. This is less often the case, but sometimes still so, if their headline declares the story an exclusive.
When a trade paper gets a scoop that didn't come from a press release, they'll most often have run the story past "official sources" in any case. Perhaps an agent or a manager will confirm to them that they're on the right track. This is a good part of why they're so frequently correct and don't just shovel shit at us.
But this also means that almost all casting news is sanctioned in some way
There are also sites like Latino Review, Schmoes Know, Twitch and – sometimes – Bleeding Cool who will run a story without, necessarily, an agent or manager giving the thumbs up. Sometimes the agent won't say anything at all. They might not answer the website's call, reply to their e-mail or in any way acknowledge their existence.
Because these reps are not in the business of working with the little people, really. They have Variety and The Hollywood Reporter and The Wrap and Deadline to play off of one another, to run their glorified press releases and to do wax their egos. And the little sites, for reasons that are obvious, won't want to hold a story for months on end just because a rep asks… and then see that rep slip it over to one of the trades in any case.
The best websites can cross check their info in other ways, without becoming puppets of the system, and so stories can be verified, or at least solidified, and then brought out into the public arena that way.
Unless you're in the loop, however, it can be hard to tell if a potential news lead is just the result of echoes.
Consider, for a moment, Latino Review's story that Katie Jarvis and Maisie Richardson-Sellers both have roles in Episode VII. I don't know where they got this info, though I could make a good guess. I do know, however, that they have a relatively good reputation, at least in many quarters.
And so their story would have gotten people talking.
Meanwhile, The Tracking Board have published their own claim that Jarvis and Richardson-Sellers will be in the film.
Though they're wearing the face of a blog or a news site relatively regularly these days, The Tracking Board is, under the skin, what the URL says they are – a tracking board. They're a private forum for people in the industry – usually assistants in production, or at agencies – to trade information.
And if they're really hearing that Jarvis and Richardson-Sellers are in Star Wars, then this story is definitely more than just empty talk, it's going to be based on something. Something that means it's going to pan out? No, not necessarily.
It seems likely that Latino Review nudged denizens of The Tracking Board into chatter, and that they managed, between themselves, to grow confident about the likelihood. Or, maybe, it was the same in-agency gossip that fed each site here. That makes sense too.
I think it's pretty likely that these two casting leads will pan out. Perhaps the deals are still being negotiated, perhaps there are other actresses in the mix too, and maybe plans will change, but there's real reason to think Katie Jarvis and Maisie Richardson-Sellers will be in Star Wars Episode VII and you don't need the trade papers, Disney or Lucasfilm's permission to take the possibility seriously.
Oh, and about Linda's story regarding Star Wars last night, don't misread it willfully. It is what it says it is – rumour based on an e-mail that purports to originate in Disney marketing but, for all we know, might have been sent from a laundrette in Jacksonville or a School Library in Connecticut. That was a story posted as a discussion starter, labelled as a rumour and delivered in good faith, though without any kind of promise that it was telling you the future.
Man, this whole Star Wars thing. Is anybody else just looking forward to it all being over?