As part of my job I often come across speculation about upcoming movies on the internet. Rumours are what keep our interest in films that aren't out for another year alive in the absence of solid news, even though we know deep down that 80% of what we're reading is a load of old horse dung. We don't care; something is better than nothing.
...except in the case of Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequel Darker, where nothing is very often better than something. Why? Because the rumours churned out by various news outlets who don't actually have any news about this movie are usually so brain-meltingly insane that collectively they've absorbed a good five hours of my life I'll never get back. And that's just not cricket.
To spare you the same pain, and because it's nearly new year and I'm feeling a little reflective, here's a handy round-up of some of the craziest rumours surrounding 2017's most anticipated erotic blockbuster, condensed and debunked - in most cases. Let's do it.
1. Jamie Dornan is a huge diva
According to your friends and ours at Movie News Guide, Jamie Dornan is too busy being a good father and husband and sickeningly handsome bastard to bother turning up to film Fifty Shades Darker.
Ignoring the facts that (A) the film isn't shooting until next year, (B) Jamie Dornan is a professional and (C) refusing to show up to film would be a massive breach of contract, the only "source" attached to this article is the Parent Herald, who are not exactly known for breaking big Hollywood news.
In summary: he'll be there, he'll say his lines with at least some conviction, and then he'll go home and play Dad and everybody wins.
File this one under: steaming hot BS
2. A new funny girl on the block?
It's a truth universally acknowledged that if a girl is funny as well as hot, men will flock. Case in point: New Girl's Jess ticks every damn box. Dakota Johnson spoke recently about injecting a bit of comedy into Ana...
"If you can’t laugh during a movie like that, you’re fucked. Literally. You need to have something that everyone can relate to."
...which, if you think about it, could be a genius marketing move - all those menfolk who contracted a convenient case of the man-flu when Grey was released might be more easily persuaded to show up for Fifty Shades Darker.
That said, this does have a distinct whiff of "PR person tells actor to say some stuff to keep movie in the headlines". All we really know is that Universal will be laughing all the way to the bank come Valentine's Day 2017.
File this one under: a vague possibility of truth
3. Expect carnal sex... and "sweet lovemaking"
One whisper that won't go away is that Fifty Shades Darker will get a whole lot kinkier than Grey. EL James' husband is the scribe behind this film's script, so if he stays faithful to his wife's book we could see scenes like this...
This feels different than the last time - so carnal, so… necessary. He pauses slowly as he peels my panties down and pulls them off ... I moan loudly as my body takes over, and I come and come, convulsing around his fingers. (153)
He flexes his hips so his erection pushes against me … Yes. Right there … He runs his teeth along my chin, eases back, then slides into me again - so slow, so sweet, so tender ... I just want to enjoy the quiet serene afterglow of making love with Christian Grey, because that’s what we’ve done: gentle, sweet lovemaking.
...play out in glorious IMAX. (Major props to you if you made it through the second snippet without projectile vomiting.)
File this one under: never gonna happen; try one of the porn parodies if that's what you're after.
4. Jamie Dornan's million-dollar dick
I like this rumour so much that I already wrote about it, which I guess makes me part of the problem, but hey ho. The basic premise here is that Universal have offered JD $1.5 milli on top of his already handsome salary to go full frontal in Darker. Mr. A. Source reckons that's "just a starting figure".
If Dornan can get that "starting figure" raised, then we might see an altogether more startling figure raised in 14 months' time, if you know what I mean. Which, clearly, you do. Everything about this rumour is full of crazy, and reminds me of the stories about J-Lo having her ass insured for 10 million dollars.
File this one under: so insane I'm half tempted to think it could be true.