Opinion: Spinning The Ben Affleck/JUSTICE LEAGUE Story

Will or he or won’t he? That’s the question surrounding actor/director Ben Affleck and Warner Brothers’ attempts to get a Justice League film on the silver screen.

Yesterday Variety broke the news that the studio was interested in having the director of The Town helm their comic book adaption, going so far as to sending the most recent draft exclusively to him. We talked about the story here.

However, later last evening, Deadline ran a story that poo-poo-ed the idea that Affleck would direct the film saying that they had been in contact with unnamed “Affleck reps” who stated “that it was not going to happen with him.”

Now it should be noted that Deadline’s report is not necessarily contracting Variety’s. If anything, it does state that the Variety piece was correct in stating that the script had been sent to Affleck and that he may be meeting with the studio about the project.

But Deadline’s post from contributor Mike Fleming tries to spin Variety’s story by saying that they were implying that Affleck was all but signed for the job when Variety neither stated nor implied anything of the sort.

When reading this type of reportage from Deadline – Well, others may engage in it on occasion, but this rule really applies primarily to Deadline – you have to keep in mind the volatile nature of its editor Nikki Finke. She is a woman who has warped from being a tenacious journalist to one with a sense of entitlement whose temper tantrums over an exclusive being given by a studio to any other outlet have only increased over the years. And while it is Fleming’s name on Deadline’s post, the vindictive, snide tone is pure Finke.

This is not the first time this week that Finke and her site have attacked a story from Variety. On Monday, Fleming denounced the trade’s report that there were some negotiations going on between Marvel Studios and Twentieth Century Fox over extending Fox’s film rights to the comic book hero Daredevil in return for allowing some villains from the Fantastic Four rights package which the studio owned. Never mind the possibility that he could have been fed a denial by the anonymous “Fox insiders” he quoted having an ulterior motive, like say the news possibly impacting the ongoing negotiations. The chance to take a cheap shot at a competitor and his former employer takes precedence over doing any type of journalistic follow up or analysis of the statement he had been given.

Not all of Deadline’s posts are as tilted as these have been, but it is always important to keep in mind when reading any site’s reportage, including ours, where the individual story stands in context with not only what other sources are reporting but what the individual site’s own reporting history is. And in doing so this morning, I can’t help but come to the conclusion that Deadline’s post is more a cheap shot than it is something that constructively contributes to the ongoing movie dialogue.

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About Rich Drees 6964 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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