Last Thursday government-friendly daily Magyar Hírlap published what appeared to be a major scoop: That Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz had agreed to appear in an American-Hungarian co-production about the history of the communist-era secret service ÁVH. We got wind of the story from our friends at Hungary Around the Clock, who graciously allow us to publish certain items from their excellent, subscription-only English-language news digest. But while some of their other partners in the “public media” went with the piece, which then went on to appear on other websites around the world, I held back. And I was right to.
While it is hardly the job of press-digesting services like HATC and websites like those of the All Hungary Media Group to “re-report” the work of leading Hungarian news outlets, in this case the “news” seemed to scream out for it.
One reason is that we’d seen – and published – an almost identical story more than a year ago, a story which similarly made its way around the ‘net before going stone-cold. Another reason was that there didn’t seem to be any other stories out there aside from these press reports emanating from Hungary – as well as the somewhat unofficial-looking official website of the movie in question – backing up the claim. (At right is a poster from the site, which suggests the film will be released this October and that Craig has already done shooting “his scenes” for it.) Surely, if one of the most glamorous Hollywood couples around was set to appear in a movie together it would be in the American show biz trade press, no?
Meanwhile – and more darkly – there are question of subject matter and financing. By “Hungarian co-production” one would have to assume a film financed or at least seeking the backing of the country’s current government, since the state is more or less the only source of such funding here in Hungary. And given that the current government is a right-wing, nationalist one, one would also have to assume it would probably not make an attractive partner for someone like Weisz, whose father fled Hungary to escape a previous right-wing nationalist government. Finally, the film Weisz and Craig are alleged to have signed on with is set during the 1956 revolution, a period in Hungarian history that the current government doesn’t seem particularly keen to dwell on; Parliamentary Speaker László Kövér has even proposed removing the statue of Imre Nagy – the independence-minded Hungarian communist leader who was executed by the Soviets, thus becoming the most famous human symbol of ’56 – from a square adjacent to Parliament.
With all this in mind, I took the “extreme” measure of actually trying to find out whether the whole thing was true or not, and after a few calls and emails tracked down a publicist named Megan Moss Pachon, who represents Weisz at global PR firm ID in Los Angeles, and who responded late last night to my inquiry with the following:
Thank you for reaching out. These reports are inaccurate.
So as it turns out, despite reports to the contrary, Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig are not appearing in any upcoming Hungarian film tragedy. Although one could see how they may feel they already have.