NOTE: It’s April Fool’s Day, and we’re not allowed to manufacture a page of fake news … but we will offer you this …
Pat Reed’s thick frame crashed into the front door of the dingy all-night internet cafe on Sunset Boulevard like a wayward drunk. Virtually every head turned his way to find the source of the clamor, as he sheepishly blushed, pushing a hand through his mop of stringy straw-colored hair and headed for the information desk.
Reaching into his John Constantine-styled tan trenchcoat (he’d never accept Keanu or his sable stylings as the man from Hellblazer dammit), Pat waited for the gum-chewing goth behind the counter to put down the copy of LA Weekly long enough to do her job.
“Uh, I need a computer,” Pat said, still a little out of breath from missing his bus home. “I gotta check The Comic Reel.”
The goth blew a bubble, which made two equally pink circles in her thick-rimmed glasses, a strange cotton-candy molecule in his vision. “I don’t even know what that means,” she said in a flat tone, pulling one of the mysterious plastic cards from an unseen place beneath the counter, cards that would make the machines leap to life. “Whatever. Station twelve.”
Pat clenched the activation card in his hand like it was Jennifer Garner’s hotel room key or some other impossible treasure and found the computer in question. A battered Dell with a Pentium II, it groaned to life as he rubbed his thick hands together.
Three clicks later he was at Comic Book Resources, searching the page … to find that it hadn’t been updated yet.
“Dammit!” he muttered under his breath, glancing at the computer’s clock. The taskbar dutifully read “8:36 AM,” and after finishing his all-night shift as a security guard for Musicians’ Institute, he was in no mood to be kept from the latest news and rumors.
“Probably had a date again,” came a gravelly voice to Pat’s right. “Sometimes, the guy who does the movie news is late on the news late in the week, especially if he has a date or something. He’s kind of a jackass …”
Pat turned to regard the man — jet black Wayfarer shades on, even in the cafe’s dim illumination, spiky black hair just starting to recede at the corners, a flawless double breasted blue suit over a black silk shirt, and a bushy brown mustache clipped meticulously to not hang over the sides of his lips.
“Uh … yeah …” Pat said, uninterested. What do I wanna hear from this freak for? he thought to himself.
“I could just tell you what he’s gonna talk about today,” the man continued, never looking away from his monitor, an anachronistic game of Pong keeping his attention. “Since I already know.”
Pat pursed his lips skeptically, deciding to kill time by finding out what kind of comic book the Army was gonna produce. “Sure you do.”
“Well, all right,” the suit said with a shrug. “If you don’t care about how Davie Bowie might be involved with ‘Watchmen,’ you can wait like the rest of the mooks …”
Pat spun and grabbed the man’s arm, causing the digital ball to spin off into nothingness on the Pong game. “What did you just say?”
The man turned slowly and offered a hand. “Jack Tell,” he said evenly. “Nice ta meet ya.”
Slowly, and with some concern, Pat shook Jack’s hand. “Pat Reed,” he returned. “Likewise.”
Jack turned back to his screen and called up a URL Pat didn’t see. Typing furiously, Jack suddenly had CBR on his browser … but it didn’t look like the one on Pat’s screen.
“He’ll have it online in about an hour,” Jack said with a dismissive grunt. “Seems like he was working on some fiction project of his. Bigger pain in the butt on the east coast than it is here …”
“How …” Pat started.
“Not important,” Jack interrupted. “Lessee what we got here … bunch of ‘Watchmen’ stuff …”
“What did you say about Bowie?” Pat asked, starting to get interested in what the strange man had to say. He swiveled his blue chair towards Jack, trying to read over his shoulder.
“Oh,” Jack muttered, clicking and typing faster than Pat could follow. “Yeah, that’s the weirdest … thing … here it is … lemme just call it up on its own, so you can read it …”
Jack rolled his identical blue chair back a bit and turned his monitor towards Pat. The screen was all black, save white type which read …
Recently, CBR News visited the set of the upcoming Darren Aronofsky film “The Fountain” in Montreal. A full report on that set visit is forthcoming, but while we were on the set, we got a chance to sit down with Aronofsky who revealed something somewhat surprising about his previous involvement with the “Watchmen” feature film.
Fans familiar with “Watchmen’s” move from the printed page to silver screen know that Aronofsky was once attached to the feature. Paramount was anxious to get started, but Aronofsky was already deep in to pre-production on “The Fountain.” Aronofsky said, “When it was set-up [Paramount was] really excited and wanted it out summer 2006 and I was like this isnt’ a film you can rush because if you fuck it up, there’s going to be a lot of angry people.” Paramount and Aronofsky went their separate ways once it was clear Aronofsky wasn’t available for the project.
During that period, though, Aronofsky met with musician David Bowie, who was also following the development of “Watchmen.” “The funny thing is when I went to meet Bowie, one of the first things he asked me was if I was doing ‘Watchmen,'” said Aronofsky. “Because it turns out he was developing an opera out of ‘Watchmen.’ So I thought, if I do this and fuck it up I’ll piss David Bowie off! Really you have to do [‘Watchmen’] very carefully.”
A spokesman for Aronofsky noted that these were very early conversations and nothing concrete has been established thus far.
Aronofsky went on to talk about why he was attracted to directing “Watchmen.” “The reason why I got involved was because of David Hayter’s script,” said Aronofsky. “I thought he did a great adaptation. Better than any of the previous ones by Gilliam or Sam Hamm. I read David’s and thought this was a film that was possible to make. I wish them all the best of luck, but I can’t do it that quickly. I need to take my time.”
Pat sat back, glancing out the windows to see the sun starting to shine on the glitter embedded in the asphalt. “Wow!” he exclaimed. “An opera of ‘Watchmen?’ That’s so weird.”
“Blew your wig, huh?” Jack said emotionlessly, sliding back to the keyboard. “Sez here that there’s an article in Variety keeping that talk alive about the movie being dead. But you can’t read that without the subscription, and I don’t trust this place enough to log on with my info …”
Pat’s jaw dropped. “In Variety? That’s like saying it’s true!”
“I guess.” Jack shrugged. “The studio’s mouthpiece Nancy Kirkpatrick said, ‘We really want to make it. We think it’s a great piece of material.’ It’s all smoke and mirrors to me until it’s in a multiplex, and I’ve been in the biz long enough to know. Good way to gauge interest, though, keeping the talk about it alive.”
Pat regarded Jack for a moment, taking in the tailored appearance, the carefully manicured hands, a fancy leather briefcase between his legs, the expensive platinum watch and Italian loafers. “Man, who are you?”
“I ain’t Brian Michael Bendis, and this ain’t a coffee shop,” Jack chortled briefly. “Let’s just say I started more of the rumors in The Comic Reel than you’d probably believe. You’re just lucky I’ve got time to kill before I meet with somebody at Musso and Frank’s.”
Pat rubbed his chin, feeling the start of the prickly stubble that’d be full grown scruff by the time he woke up that afternoon. “Well, what else can you tell me?”
“Let’s see what we have here …” Jack said, as if he were reading the ingredients off of a cereal box. “An Australian media outlet has a story about Bryan Singer, that Routh kid and Eva Marie Saint in someplace called Tamworth. Looks like they’re done with that Kent farm set, a bunch of night shoots …”
“Any photos?” Pat asked excitedly, rocking back and forth in his chair.
“None from the actual shoot …” Jack said, trailing off, “but it looks like they have a possible teaser poster at another site …”
“What?” Pat exclaimed, a fleck of spittle leaping from his chapped lips. “Lemme see that!”
Jack slid aside again as Pat read the tagline — “Look To The Sky” — with his lips moving as he went. “That’s really cool,” Pat intoned reverently.
Jack rolled his eyes behind the sunglasses and nudged his way back in. “Sure. Mmm, Moviehole rumor bashes the idea of a sequel being filmed now, and speculates the sets might stay up anyway, since they’re already planning sequels.”
Pat rolled up the sleeves of his jean jacket and leaned, shoulders on his knees, closer. “What else you got?” he asked happily.
“Just some ‘Smallville’ stuff,” Jack returned, barely noticing Pat’s enthusiasm. “John Schneider and Erica Durance will be at Sci Fi Vulkon in Tampa this August, blah blah blah … oh. Well, Comics Continuum has a bunch of quotes from Rodriguez and some other cast members. Hadda have something for opening weekend, I guess. They’re saying how noir it is and …”
A loud beeping started from inside Jack’s suit, and he pulled out a Treo 650 Smartphone, and started tapping at it with his thumb.
“Dammit … Halle’s never gonna let up until she sees a script,” Jack groused. “Look, kid, I gotta get outta here …” Jack closed the browser and pulled his authorization card from the machine’s guts. Without another word, he started to leave.
“But …” Pat started, “I have so many questions …”
Jack turned, smiling slightly. “Keep reading The Comic Reel,” Jack offered. “You’ll get your answers in due time. Gotta jet, ciao!”
Without another word, Jack Tell dropped the card and a stack of bills on the counter on his way out and was gone. Pat wondered and turned around to check IMDB, but came up empty on the name. Shrugging, Pat pulled his own card and made his way into the sunny April First morning.
THAT’S A WRAP
Thank you for indulging us in our first “experimental” April Fool’s Wrap, which has actual news items but a wholly fictional setting. We’ll be back to normal on Monday. In the meantime, if you have the scoop on anything related to comic book movies, TV adaptations or just want to give us a briefcase full of cash, no questions asked, drop us a line and let’s coordinate. You can choose an alias if you’d like, or be mentioned by name — we honor requests for anonymity. Broadcasting live from Los Angeles, this is your humble scribe Hannibal Tabu saying thanks for your time and indulgence, Executive Producer Jonah Weiland contributed to this article, I forgot to mention comics reviews yesterday, and “don’t blame me, I’m drunk too!”