Last month, we reported on Scottish movie pitchman Mark Millar's attempt to generate viral interest for the movie adaptation of the comic book he hasn't even released the first issue of yet: Empress. Millar was tweeting this photo of a supposed "Hollywood actress" who was set to play the titular role in the film:
And don't get us wrong - Millar did a great job of drumming up interest, with lots of websites reporting on the photo and speculating on the identity of the actress. Most hilariously, ComicBook.com's Russ Burlingame claimed to have inside information that the actress could be Angelina Jolie or Sandra Bullock. But The Outhouse had a different theory on the photo: it didn't feature a Hollywood actress at all. In fact, it was actually local screenwriter and pal of Millarworld Editor Rachael Fulton, Nicola Murray, wearing the scarf:
Murray, who tweeted Millar's photo at dozens of news outlets trying to get them to cover it, denied that it was her in the photo. And of course, between the scarf, the sunglasses, the sign covering her chin, and the blurriness of the photo, it's difficult to prove. But trust us - we were right. Murray is connected with Millar's crew, and would be available to pose for a photo like this in Millar's home, unlike, say, Anne Hathaway, who has better things to do than engage in this sort of nonsense.
In any case, Millar posted another photo today, showing what he purports to be the same actress with the scarf removed, and promising another reveal next month. But is it really the same "actress?" Is it?!
While the subjects of both photos are wearing similar disguises and similar makeup, there are some key differences, most notably the shape of the nose, lips, and fingers:
But, admittedly, that could be a matter of camera angles and lighting. Both photos do show a slight mole beneath the subject's right lip - a mole that Murray does not have, at least in the photos we've seen. And the second photo is clearly not Murray.
So could we have been wrong? Could these photos show the same actress? Could the actress be one of the previously speculated megastars like Jolie, Hathawaye, or Bullock, or could she be Batman v. Superman and Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot, as Millar clearly wanted people to believe with a (now deleted) tweet calling her the "WONDER-ful" actress playing Empress?!
What do you think, Gal?
The answer, of course, is almost certainly not. Again, what A-List Hollywood actress would go out of their way to engage in these kinds of internet shenanigans with Millar for three months? No, once again, the actress pictured in the second photo is another member of Millar's circle: Scottish television actress Louise Stewart.
Stewart has the right chin and nose, the same ear shape, and the right lips and eyebrows with the makeup properly applied. And she's also got the mole beneath her right lip. Here's two photos of Stewart showing these features next to Millar's viral photo:
Millar is good friends with some of the cast of Burniston, a Scottish sketch comedy show on which Stewart appears. Stewart is also a comics fan:
Absent of this ridiculous viral marketing campaign, Stewart could be a fine choice to play Empress, and unlike the previous photo, Stewart is actually an actress. However, she's not the A-List "Hollywood" star Millar hopes gullible entertainment websites will report her being to drum up interest in his comic and movie.
So what's the end game here? After all of the hype, will Millar reveal that Stewart is playing the role? Or is Stewart a stand-in for a big name actress Millar hopes to sign before the May 4th deadline? Now that we've blown up Millar's spot a second time, will he need to change actresses again? The ironic thing about all of this is that, even though we're convinced Millar is making this up as he goes along, we're probably more interested in the reveal now than we would be if we believed it was Anne Hathaway or Angelina Jolie in the first place.
Tune in May 4th when we find out who's full of shit once and for all - us, Mark Millar, or both! It's probably both.