According to the internet, Jake Gyllenhaal is playing Captain Marvel. I’ll be sure to let the studio, producers, and director know.

Sigh.

It’s frustrating how in the digital age, random speculation turns to fact in about .003 seconds. And once it starts, it’s like a tire fire: any attempt to extinguish it merely creates a lot more smoke.

Since it’s impossible to put the conflagration out, we can at least try to figure out how this case of celebrity arson began. My hunch is that it was a combination of factors:

  1. The announcement that I got hired to write the movie.
  2. The Captain Marvel illustrations that ran with the story, leading to questions of, “Who does that look like?”
  3. Gyllenhaal’s recent visibility in Zodiac.
  4. Jake’s sister Maggie being hired for the new Batman.
  5. Recent trailers and leaked photos from Spider-Man 3, re-igniting…
  6. …the old rumor that Jake Gyllenhaal was replacing Tobey Maguire.

Amplifying all of these factors is what I call the Sticky Celebrity Constant: associating a recognizable star with a concept makes it exponentially more interesting. For example…

Re-hab. Depressing.
Britney Spears in rehab. Fascinatingly depressing, like a clown with cancer.

Adoption. Laudable but dull.
Angelina Jolie adopting again. Worth at least five minutes on The View.

Established screenwriter hired to adapt obscure comic-book character. Yawn.
Jake Gyllenhaal considering playing obscure comic-book character. Hooray!

But the thing is, he’s not considering. I can pretty much assure you he’s never heard of the project. And we’ve never discussed him. We’ve never seriously discussed anyone.

After several months of meetings, casting has come up exactly zero times. There’s no casting list. If there were a list, Gyllenhaal’s name would probably be on it, but trust me: there is no list. There’s no start date, no release date, no movie whatsoever. There’s just a script to be written. Which I should probably get back to.

But if you happen to bump into the internet, please tell him what I said.