Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Pulp Culture
Internet gossips square off over 'Superman' casting

September 9, 2004
By Franklin Harris

In the tradition of King Kong vs. Godzilla, Freddy vs. Jason and Gore Vidal vs. Truman Capote comes the latest, greatest celebrity feud of the last 15 minutes.

Last week, comic-book writer Mark Millar set the world of entertainment gossip buzzing with his claim that he knew, for certain, that Jim Caviezel would be cast as the next Superman. Caviezel, for those of you who have been hiding in caves for the past six months, played Jesus in Mel Gibson's popular and controversial film, "The Passion of the Christ." Millar's comments quickly went beyond the usual Internet gossip sites and into the pages of the New York Post, where they appeared in Richard Johnson's Page Six column.

As Millar told his fans, "You remember when I told you to relax about 'Superman'? That a very, very trusted and experienced director we all love was coming over? . . . Well, my very same good buddy has informed me that . . . Jim Caviezel is officially the new man of steel . . . "

From Page Six, the story hit the newswires. There was no stopping it. Entertainment writers were ravenous for Superman casting news. After all, they had been speculating as to who would get the role for weeks, ever since "X-Men" director Bryan Singer signed on to direct the film, replacing hapless "Charlie's Angels" director McG, whose own search for a new Superman went nowhere slowly.

Millar must have been elated. He has never been one to avoid publicity, and with a few quickly typed words on his Web site, www.millarworld.net, he put his name into newspapers around the globe.

But one person was having none of it. No sooner had Millar's rumor started making the rounds did the godfather of online entertainment gossip step up and call shenanigans.

Harry Knowles, founder and driving force behind the granddaddy of gossip sites, Ain't It Cool News (www.aintitcool.com), took to his keyboard and said Millar was wrong, wrong, wrong.

"Jim Caviezel is not going to be Superman," Knowles wrote. "In fact, right now, he isn't even being considered, though his representation is pushing him. Where is the search for the last son of Krypton? It's still a wide search. I'm very curious who is feeding Mark Millar this off-kilter information . . . as my sources are dead on."

Things were getting serious. Reputations were on the line. It was Knowles' sources vs. Millar's sources. Whose sources would reign supreme? Ever confident, Millar upped the ante, betting Knowles $1,000 that Caviezel would be donning the famous red-and-blue tights. Knowles quickly accepted. In the spirit of "Celebrity Jeopardy," each is playing for charity. If Millar loses, he'll give $1,000 to the Clyde Coast Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre. If Knowles loses, he'll give a cool grand to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

So, who is the smart money in this contest? Well, Knowles' reputation has been in steady decline for several years. Ain't It Cool News has gone from breaking big stories to repeating the same rumors found on every other gossip site and publishing stream-of-consciousness movie and television reviews. Millar, on the other hand, is a shameless self-promoter who knowingly spread a bogus story about Eminem starring in a movie adaptation of Millar's "Wanted" comic books.

In short, your guess is as good as mine. The only thing I know, from an impeccable source, is that Tom Cruise won't be playing Iron Man. He wants too much money.

Anyone want to bet me?

(Author's note: If you are too young to get the reference to Vidal vs. Capote, please substitute Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilera. Thank you.)

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