Do you remember the glory days of web-based movie news? The thrilling tales of adventure as unemployed Australian twenty-year-olds snuck onto the blue screen sets of the new Star Wars film. The glorious rumors about Evil Dead 4’s imminent lensing, Sean Penn’s negotiations to star in The Matrix, and Natalie Portman’s signing to the first part of a Léon prequel trilogy–Barely Legal: The Mathilda Chronicles. Recall those salad days spent masturbating to both a frames-based Uncle Scoopy’s Celebrity Nudes and James Cameron’s Spider-Man scriptment. Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger would be starring in both a Planet of the Apes remake and a Will Smith-less I Am Legend while a team of underage Taiwanese prostitutes rubbed coconut oil on his pecs in preparation for Doc Savage: Man of Bronze.
The quality and accuracy of movie news has arguably improved. Especially after certain redheaded webmasters learned that Photoshop + Monster Manual clippings â‰ smuggled Lord of the Rings concept art. Still, I’m a little disappointed that wild rumor mongering and hilariously Freudian fan-wank speculation don’t still rule the day. “Wait, Jude Law is Superman? But he’s not muscular enough! Needs more muscles! Lots and lots of muscles! Fag!”
True story: my freshman year of college was spent eating turkey and ranch sandwiches from my dorm’s convenience counter and ignoring the fact that three unexcused absences meant a failing grade. I was living in New Orleans, where the horror classic Dracula 2000 was in the middle of filming. My friends and I were bored with practicing voodoo and throwing beads at each other’s tits, so we decided to have some fun with one of the movie news sites known for publishing obviously fabricated lies from semi-anonymous AOL members. It’s still around today, so I won’t tell you which one it was. I’ll just say yes or no to whatever you guess.
No, it wasn’t Corona’s Coming Attractions.
Yes, it was Dark Horizons.
An insider scoop from the set of Dracula 2000 seemed reasonable enough. We knew where they were filming, so we didn’t have to make that detail up. Plus, it was such a low class production that any d-list punchline of an actor might conceivably have a part. And we enjoyed the idea that any information on the filming of Dracula 2000 could conceivably be considered news. I don’t know how we decided on Frank Stallone as our secret cameo spoiler, but it definitely wasn’t my idea. I could believe Edward Norton as Cyclops, but Frank Stallone in a movie with a catering budget? Nonsense. In a nod to believability, we had Mr. Stallone noticing our fictional young set sneak and asking to borrow a little bit of cash–you know, just until he could pay the kid back. We just needed a name for our plucky spy. Something mysterious. Something attention grabbing, yet subtle. We settled on “BgDk14yrOld.”
Lest you think this story doesn’t have a happy ending, you’ll be pleased to know that our scoop ran on September 14th, 2000 under the headline “Frank Stallone spotted on ‘Dracula 2000’ set.” A petty act, perhaps. Some might even call it a black mark on Internet journalism’s garbage-strewn march to mainstream respectability.
But I like to think that just for a moment we brightened Frank Stallone’s day. Then, almost immediately, sent him into an amnesiac panic.