MEDIA

Just to Clarify: Mike Figgis Means the Airplane Pilots of the World No Harm

Lest you think that Lou Dobbs is the only person actively making stuff up and passing it off as fact, a story misreported by the Guardian back in April got picked up by a trio of entertainment websites, much to the consternation of Leaving Las Vegas director Mike Figgis.

On April 29, the Guardian reported:

Director Mike Figgis spent longer at LAX airport than intended. He'd arrived in Los Angeles, along with half the acting and directing world, for what is known as 'pilot season', when the big studios try out new scripts, directors and actors in a two-week frenzy of auditions and career make-or-breaks. When Figgis was being grilled by airport immigration, he was asked the purpose of his visit. Unthinking and tired after a long flight, Mike replied: 'I'm here to shoot a pilot.' After five hours in an interrogation cell (yes, really), he finally made it into town.

As it turns out, that never happened. In fact, what happened was pretty much the opposite. Figgis, reached by Public Radio International's Jonathan Mitchell, clarifies: "...the story is a complete exageration of something I said in an interview, namely...I was being questioned in toronto airport by the US immigration officer who said 'purpose of your visit?' and I was about to reply 'I'm here to shoot a pilot' when I thought better of it and said, 'I'm here to film the 1st episode of a potential series for Fox/Sony.'"

Of course, what caused this Guardian item to float back into media consciousness a month after it ran is a puzzlement, especially considering the original featured no comment from Figgis and more or less smelled like something bound for Snopes.com. It ended up as an item on Wired's "Threat Level" around noon on Tuesday, and got picked up by Cinematical and by Moviefone before Boing Boing shrewdly showered the whole thing with skepticism. All of which raises a very important question:

Moviefone is reporting news now?