Way before Lena Headey became “Queen Of The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros” and surviving a Walking Dead zombocalypse was only a distant dream of a slightly less greasy Norman Reedus, there was their starring turn in Davis Guggenheim‘s mystery-thriller from 2000, Gossip.
In the era of flip phones and film cameras, three students (played by Headey, Reedus and James Marsden) conduct a social experiment to see how far and fast a juicy bit of gossip can travel. Their target: a virginal Naomi (Kate Hudson), the girl who “doesn’t put out” and her beau, Beau (Joshua Jackson).
When Naomi passes out during a makeout session, Beau does what all men should do in that situation and backs off. But what if he didn’t? Soon, thanks to a devious game of telephone, the story builds to the point where Beau is questioned about rape and Naomi has heard the story so many times she starts believing the hype.
With social media here to spread the “fake news” far and wide at lightening speed, and an era where women are sharing their #MeToo moments, Gossip seems like a dark and twisted relic, making light of serious situations and suggestions under the guise of teen entertainment.
But there remains something truly compelling, even when the movie can’t quite put its finger on what it’s really trying to say about potential date rape among good-looking-but-terrible people. Just like any too-good-to-be-true tale, look to closely into Gossip and it unravels quickly with an ending that derails the entire message.
Gossip was always a little skeezy and is even more so when viewed in light of current context. Yet somehow this relic has become even more relevant, making it ripe for a contemporary remake. Replace the flip phones with iPhones, the word-of-mouth hallway gossip with retweets, and the salacious storyline could work just as well for today’s audience.