Sam Mendes on as consultant for Bond, not director

by Paul William Tenny

I wrote yesterday that Cinematical was using a dishonest tactic (usually used to get traffic, but I'm not saying that was their reason for doing it) in stating X as a fact in their headline, while going on to say in the story that X is not a fact, but instead a rumor, uncertain event, or something else along those lines. They reported -- based on another story which also has turned out to be wrong, good job THR-- that Sam Mendes was in negotiations to direct the next Bond film for MGM.

But the title of the post stated this as a fact (as did the THR post): "Sam Mendes to Direct the 23rd James Bond Film".
My criticism is that what was in the story didn't match what was in the headline, and that doing this can and often does backfire precisely because events which have been stated as a fact are in reality quite uncertain.

That was yesterday. Today, Deadline Hollywood wrote that Mendes was in talks to come on as a consultant, not director. I warned in my story yesterday that this is the price a publication pays for playing fast and loose with reality just to get a few more page views, and I openly wondered what Cinematical's reaction would be if their "fact" turned out to be wrong.

Well, now I know.

After seeing the DHD post I contacted the Cinematical author, Peter Hall, on Twitter (in my experience this can often be the easiest way to get someone's attention these days) to see what his response was. To his credit, after reading the DHD post I gave him, Hall updated the story on Cinematical and very slightly changed the headline (he added a question mark to the end of what was previously a statement of fact.)

What actually happens with Sam Mendes and Bond 23 is still uncertain. This consultancy may just be a holding contract of sorts, or it may have been that this is what the production company wanted all along, and people without all the facts (I'm looking at you, THR) took a nugget of truth ran with it just to get attention for their site. Still, Hall deserves credit for updating his post, though he could have avoided the need by not having such an attention grabbing and baseless headline in the first place.
in Film, Media Criticism


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