Yesterday not one, but two publications reported on the screening of Son of No One at Sundance, saying Katie Holmes' performance elicited "a collective groan" and mass "exodus" from the theater. The problem? None of this actually happened.
In an angry defense of Holmes, Roger Friedman of Showbiz 411 explains how the bogus gossip traveled from The Hollywood Reporter, to Us, and on to many other gossip sites, including our own Dirt Bag roundup. The fact that most celebrity gossip is BS and half-truths shouldn't surprise anyone, but what's odd about this story is the size of the lie and the lack of motive.
Dozens of people attended Monday's screening, but Hollywood Reporter writers
[see update below] and Jay A. Fernandez weren't among them. That's unclear on first reading, but it seems this entire report comes courtesy of "one observer":
Sundance 2011 can chalk up its first bomb ... Though the theater wasn't full, the room was crowded with acquisitions execs wanting an early look at the film. Reps from Samuel Goldwyn, Paramount, Summit, the Weinstein Co., Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group, IFC Films, Morgan Creek, Screen Media, Miramax and Relativity made it into the theater by the film's opening credits.
Some of them, however, were gone well before the end credits. In addition, enough regular audience members left early for one observer to describe it as an "exodus."
The negative response went beyond the walkouts. One viewer's attempt to begin applause after the lights came up drew almost no takers.
Later Us picked up the story, explaining that the early exits were due to a mistake by the projectionist, and adding this:
"When Katie showed up on screen, there was a collective groan," says a source, who attended the screening. "She plays the wife of a Queens' cop [Tatum] and she was completely miscast. They have her cursing a lot. And when she swore, there were chuckles."
Continues the insider of the actress, 32, "She was wrong for it. Al Pacino's acting in the movie was intentionally over the top, and he did it with a wink. Most of the cast seemed in on the joke — except for Katie. She was acting like she was in a dramatic Sundance indie, when it's really just a typical cop movie."
Friedman counters on Showbiz 411:
I was at the press screening of Dito Montiel's "Son of No One" on Monday. No one chuckled or snorted when Katie was on screen. No one walked out of the film. There was no exodus, no running for the doors. No "collective groan."
It's possible the writers at THR and US didn't intentionally misreport the story, but why would a source lie about the "exodus" when there are obviously many people who could contradict the story? Furthermore, why would someone put this much effort into bashing Katie Holmes'? The film could come out of Sundance with bad buzz, but there's essentially no chance that a movie starring Al Pacino, Ray Liotta, Juliette Binoche, Tracy Morgan, and Channing Tatum won't wind up in movie theaters across the country, regardless of Holmes' acting.
Friedman speculates that the nasty reports are a result of people at THR and US hating Holmes for marrying Tom Cruise and being a Scientologist. As former Dawson's Creek fans, we'd rather go with the theory that Michelle Williams, whose film Meek's Cutoff was also shown at Sundance, is acting on a long-standing grudge. However, the truth is probably far less salacious. Whether it's deserved or not, Holmes has developed a reputation for being a not-so-great actress who looks to her husband to prop up her career. It fits better with that narrative to say her acting in Son of No One sparked a walkout, and that's a much juicier tabloid story than a report about a bunch of people quietly enjoying a movie.
Update: THR has responded. They clarify that their reporter was indeed inside the screening, from well before the film started to well after it ended; during that time they witnessed "roughly a dozen walkouts." As for Roger Friedman, they write:
Friedman, who failed to tell his readers that he was let go by THR last year, is slamming us by claiming some kind of vendetta against actress Katie Holmes. That's ridiculous and wouldn't justify a response if his post hadn't been picked up by other media outlets.
Snap. And given an early review of the film itself, Katie's probably going to just start feeling worse.
Katie Holmes Gets Smeared By US, Hollywood Reporter [Showbiz 411]
SUNDANCE: Al Pacino-Katie Holmes ‘The Son of No One' Bombs, Prompts Walkouts [Hollywood Reporter]
Katie Holmes Gets "Collective Groan" At Disastrous Screening [Us]