An epic battle worthy of Superman and Lex Luthor is raging between Variety and a consortium of popular movie news sites. The confrontation sparked recently when a number of sites -- Ain't It Cool News and Coming Attractions among them -- claimed that director Brett Ratner ("Red Dragon") had walked out on Warner Bros.' "Superman" production and Michael Bay, the bombastic helmer behind "Pearl Harbor" and "Armageddon," was negotiating to take over. Juicy story, right? Too bad it was false.
In today's edition of Variety, columnist Michael Fleming featured quotes from both Ratner and Bay denying the rumor. Ratner, peeved at the suggestion "Superman" is no longer in his grasp, took aim at what he perceives to be the culprits. "This is the most ridiculous rumor I've ever heard," Ratner said, "and it starts with Web sites that have gone from supportive cinefiles to (being) gossip mongers."
In an interesting defensive move, Coming Attractions posted an analysis that owns up to the mistake, but uses facts from the very same Variety article to confirm a host of other "Superman" rumors. They are:
In the same post, Coming Attractions also notes that Ashton Kutcher ("That '70s Show," "Just Married") is another potential Man of Steel. E! Online columnist Anderson Jones quotes Ratner as saying Kutcher's screen test was "very, very good." Of course, very, very good doesn't necessarily translate to very, very hired.
- The movie is the first part of a trilogy and Ratner hopes to direct all three films.
- Jude Law and Josh Hartnett are both in the running to play Superman.
To recap, as of this moment Ratner is still the director, Bay is in no way involved, and the Web is full of "gossip mongers" who rarely get credit for being correct but take shots in the teeth when they're wrong.
If you're not exhausted from all this gossip mongering, check out more comic-to-film news in our comics section. -- Mac Slocum