Remember that time you fell in love with that girl in the Dungeons and Dragons IRC chat room and she ended up being a 400 pound man who jerked off into stuffed versions of Cthulu? Whoa, how embarrassing was that? Probably almost as embarrassing as asking Lexi Alexander, the director of the new Punisher movie, to marry you on the Superhero Hype! message boards…. and then finding out that was never Lexi Alexander in the first place.
Yes, even reputable sites like CHUD.com fell for this fake Lexi Alexander (but unlike Superhero Hype! posters, we never asked her hand in matrimony. We can’t go for that commitment). Hats off to the lonely, pathetic internet troll who perpetrated this excellent hoax, and I hope that it makes up for never knowing a woman’s embrace. But in the meantime, it’s sort of interesting to look at this whole thing as an indicator of where we are in the world of the internet – yes, it’s totally believable that Lexi Alexander would sign on to the Superhero Hype! message boards and answer questions*. That’s sort of the dynamic we’ve come to expect from filmmakers working on genre projects, and Superhero Hype! is pretty much the biggest site on the web for that particular subgenre, and we’ve seen filmmakers wading into the fray on that site before.
The thing is that lots of filmmakers read lots of the same sites that you read. Most of the film types I meet are aware of CHUD, and the message boards, and I know that almost everyone making movies today is keenly aware – and afraid – of the Aint It Cool Talkbacks (the funny thing is that it seems like the Talkbacks seem to eclipse the rest of the site for many filmmakers). The internet, and the people who post about movies on it, has become a very real aspect of the cinematic landscape in the 21st century. Bryan Singer downplays the internet, calling it ‘The 600′ (as in there are just 600 people out there posting on all these sites, changing handles to make it seem like their ranks are fuller), but the truth is that the people reading this right now have more power and influence than they may realize.
So while it’s pretty funny that someone fooled all of Superhero Hype! and a bunch of websites into believing they were Lexi Alexander, they weren’t pulling off a totally insane and unlikely hoax. The reason it worked so well is that the basic idea is so believable. The line between fan and filmmaker is getting thinner all the time, and people like Edgar Wright and Joe Carnahan are blurring the distinction all the more all the time. When I was a young film nerd the idea of meeting a filmmaker I appreciated was amazing; today’s young film fans might expect email replies from their heroes. It’s an exciting time, and in the end the hoaxer served only to remind us how cool the web world is right now.
And if Lexi Alexander had any sense, she’d step in where the hoaxer left off.
*if you believe that women know how to use computers, that is.