An extremely zeitgeist-y piece of pseudo-news making the rounds on the Internet right now: former child Harry Potter star Emma Watson to show "just how much she's gown up" as protagonist Anastasia Steele in the upcoming film based on Twilight-inspired BDSM-lite "mommy porn" novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, as confirmed in studio documents leaked by notorious hacker group Anonymous. Look at that sentence. Obviously it's too delicious to be true.
On March 6, Anonymous' German "branch" (the group functions in a loose, non-hierarchical way) posted a tweet announcing the hack of Constantin Film, a major German studio (the company produced the Resident Evil franchise). The attached document disclosed a list of internal email addresses, a set of administrative passwords for accessing the company's internal database and screenshots of two documents: 1) The file on a Reese Witherspoon project which ultimately wasn't picked up. 2) A crude jokey prank project Anonymous submitted to Constantin's servers.
I did not try logging into the studio's database because that is illegal and also the seeded accounts have almost certainly been shut down since the leak.
The Hollywood Reporter posted about the hack the following day. This sentence was buried in the article: "There was little that was new in the documents Anonymous stole — one has Emma Watson attached to star in Focus Features' upcoming 50 Shades of Grey adaptation, confirming a widely-reported rumor — while the majority involve projects that have been announced or otherwise reported."
The story took over a week to pick up steam. About an hour ago, I saw a headline claiming that Emma Watson was "confirmed" to play Ana from one of our celebrity partner sites. Jezebel posted about the story at noon today, with the headline: "Anonymous Says It’s Confirmed That Emma Watson Will Be the Big-Screen Anastasia Steele We All Deserve." Jezebel sourced The Hollywood Reporter's story; so did other outlets, including the The Detroit Free Press and USA Today.
Rumors that Watson was attached to the Fifty Shades project have been around for awhile. "Has Emma Watson Been Cast As Anastasia Steele In 50 Shades Of Grey?!," Perez Hilton asked breathlessly last July. At the time, Watson adamantly denied she had even been approached about the project — "I haven’t read the book, I haven’t a read a script, nothing." — but in Hollywood such denials are sometimes a euphemism for, "I'm negotiating."
However, IndieWire reports that "the actual leaked paperwork says 'Maybe Emma Waston' and was dated last fall," in which case the only thing that's been "confirmed" is that someone at Constantin Film at some point considered "maybe" casting the actress in the upcoming film. It would have been impossible not to consider her, after the maelstorm the rumor set off on the Internet.
The studio told the The Hollywood Reporter that all hacked documents were "out of date and widely accessible to many Constantin employees." So not exactly the Wikileaks of the film industry, unfortunately.
Update: At 2 p.m., USA Today recieved a statement from Universal Pictures (yet another studio involved with the film, Hollywood is an incestuous cesspool): "No one has been cast yet."
Image via WENN