Did Steven Soderbergh just execute the biggest catfish of all time? The director's upcoming film starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig is generating a lot of buzz because a young first-time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt penned the script. According to The Hollywood Reporter, though, Rebecca Blunt might not exist.
The original report cites "multiple sources" who claimed that Blunt is just a facade crafted to hide the identity of the real writer. Allegedly, even the cast of the film — yes, including Channing Tatum — didn't know that Blunt did not exist.
The internet doesn't seem to think she exists, either. Rebecca Blunt is hard to find for someone who wrote one of August's buzziest movies. Her IMdB page is empty, save for Logan Lucky. She has no Wikipedia presence. The Hollywood info database Celebrity Intelligence has nothing on record of Blunt, either. The Hollywood Reporter also cites the fact that reviewers of the film did not receive press kits — and therefore a biography for Blunt — when they saw the movie. (Reviewers usually receive a pack of paper that include notes on those involved with the film.)
There are a few theories — corroborated by "insiders" — as to who actually wrote the script. One suggests that Jules Asner, who's married to Steven Soderbergh wrote it. A rep for Asner did not immediately respond to Refinery29's request for comment. Another posits that John Henson, a television host for the E! network, wrote it. Henson's management also did not respond to a request for comment.
Yet another theory suggests that Soderbergh wrote the script, which isn't unheard of for the experimental director. He wrote the 1995 film Underneath as "Sam Lowry." He later seemed to explain this oddity when he trashed the film in an interview with Indiewire. He said he'd told a Cannes organizer that it was "the worst thing [he'd] ever made" and refused to screen it for the festival. This makes it seem like "Sam Lowry" was an embarrassed coverup for bad writing. (In the same interview, Soderbergh said he "wasn’t really a writer.")
Today, following the original story in The Hollywood Reporter, Soderbergh told Entertainment Weekly, "Well, that’s going to be news to Rebecca Blunt."
He added, “When people make a statement like that they should be very careful, especially when it’s a woman screenwriter who is having her first screenplay produced."
Soderbergh then seemed to defend the elusive writer. (Or fake name.) "Why are you going after her?” he asked. "She’s interviewed in the press kit. I happen to know that she's working on something and that she's on a deadline. She doesn't want to do any press until after the movie opens. Isn't she allowed to do that?" (Reminder: According to THR, reviewers did not receive press kits.)
But, er, couldn't Rebecca Blunt have made that statement? As a first-time woman screenwriter, you'd think she'd want to defend her first script, especially when her entire existence is in question. Also, the movie is getting great reviews. Variety called it a "high-spirited, low-down blast" and even The Hollywood Reporter said it was "breezy, unpretentious, [and] just-for-fun." Rebecca Blunt, take credit for this well-reviewed work!
If Soderbergh indeed wrote the script, it will be disappointing. Thing is, there are a lot of young women screenwriters who could have written the script. And it certainly makes a movie more "buzzy" to have a first-timer at the helm. In the least ideal of worlds, Soderbergh concocted Rebecca Blunt to earn his first feature film in four years some credo. And that's pretty despicable.
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