Warner Bros has been hard at work on “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” in Detroit, where local news crews have been stalking the film, trying to break whatever they could about the production.
Now it appears one station is at the center of a controversy about information they revealed. While there are plenty of details that have already been confirmed about the film, the vast majority of what we'll see in March of 2016 is still a mystery. And good for them. Warner Bros. has no other film in production right no that is more important to their overall game plan for their tentpole movies for the next six years. Forget about the creative side for a moment… just in terms of numbers, this movie matters more to them than anything else they're making right now. If it works, they are off to the races. If it doesn't, then they're looking at a whole slate of stuff they might start second-guessing.
Because they take this film so seriously, they have done a good job of keeping extras and crew from the Detroit shoot locked down. They had everyone sign extensive NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) about every detail of the film. I've signed plenty of NDAs in my day, and they usually have some sort of language about how much they can come after you for if you talk, and it's almost always a figure so large that it feels like it would kill you if they actually won their case. It is an effective legal admonishment that I know I take seriously when I sign.
In the story broadcast by WILX, we see a few moments of their digitally disguised spy talking about how they could sue him for $5 million for talking to the station. Frankly, that's the craziest part of the story. Why show him at all? Why play that game or even report on the NDAs? If you're a journalist talking to a source, you don't have to show someone that process.
There is one piece of information that the extra “revealed,” and if you don't want to know it, don't read the next paragraph. I will say, though, that this is pretty far from being official news. This is a game of telephone that ran into a game of connect-the-dots, and it is a rumor at this point and nothing more.
The rumor is that Jena Malone will be playing Robin in the film, which would be in line with the Frank Miller “Dark Knight” version of the character, as much of the iconography of Batman seems to be in what we've seen so far. That would certainly be an interesting choice, and I'd be curious to see how that plays out across the larger landscape of the DC Comics movies that Warner Bros is gearing up on right now. Again, though… this is one extra saying this to one reporter with no back-up, no second source, and no way of knowing if this extra has any idea what they're actually talking about. And it's two pieces of information that the reporter put together. One report that Robin is female. One report that Jena Malone was on set. That's hardly an official announcement.
When I first saw this story, it was on The Playlist, which linked to The Wrap, which linked back to WILX, and if you look at the three stories in that order, you'll see exactly how something starts to turn into something else as it gets passed along. The Playlist said that The Wrap was reporting that a $5 million lawsuit had been filed by Warner Bros. The Wrap only technically said that the suit could be filed, but I can see how The Playlist read it wrong. And if you go back to the original story, you'll see that there's no mention of Warner Bros. responding to the rumor in any way, because the story they broadcast was about the rumor itself.
Maybe Warner will react. Maybe they'll go after the extra. But for now, this story really boils down to “One extra said something about the film, one local station broadcast what he said, and there's no verification of anything.”
“Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” is in theaters March 16, 2016.