But there's one way in which this is not like a poltical sex scandal. When something like this happens to, say, Bill Clinton, journalists go deeper, looking for other shoes or stained dresses about to drop. But Hollywood has a seperate fourth estate, and instead of digging in, these guys prepare for liftoff; there are a dozen or so variations on the theory that All Of This Was Planned, so let's explore them! And let me say at the outset: I might actually believe some of this shit. I don't know! Most of the credit here goes to (this blog's new associate editor!) Kira, who emailed me at 12:30am last night with a half-interested, half-exasperated (the right approach, I think) breakdown of what The World was saying. The research and sources are hers, the attitude is mine. OK, so there are really only five possible interpretations for this whole thing:
1. THE SCANDAL IS FAKE BUT ROBSTEN IS REAL
Commenters at CDAN point out that Stewart went years without being caught in a liplock (because they were being guarded) with Pattinson but immediately got busted with Sanders (because they wanted to). There's also the nebulous fact that Twilight seems to be waning in popularity (unquantifiable given all the changes to the rules of the MTV Movie Awards--did they realize how much they were screwing over low culture academics with that shit?). Then there's the fact that Stewart and Pattinson's romance is pretty believable. Attractive people who spend a lot of time together generally end up fucking--it's Newton's third law of penis/vagina dynamics. This theory essentially posits, therefore, that Summit never NEEDED to fake Robsten, but were sort of aware that they could have. So once Stewart and Pattinson were more or less "out" as a couple (I know everybody is acting like this was the first anybody'd heard, but I felt like Cannes was their unofficial reveal) Summit decided to give the fans something else to chew on. Pattinson and Stewart went along with it, I guess because they don't give a fuck. And if Robsten is real, this is actually Summit's FIRST fake controversy (unless like, Rachel LeFevre's seperation from the series was amicable) the seams are showing a little. Liberty Moss supposedly initially claimed she was the woman in the photos and denied the affair, but references to that seem to have been scrubbed from articles like this one (And indeed various blogs are pointing out supposed abberations in (only a few of) the pictures, saying they've been shopped). The speed and grace of Stewart's apology even supports this theory, a little. But a couple of those sentences up there are pretty tenuous, right? So:
2. THE SCANDAL IS FAKE AND ROBSTEN IS FAKE
Kristen Stewart went years without being caught in a liplock with Robert Pattinson because they weren't locking lips! Robsten was, therefore, a construct created by Summit to sell movie tickets. This is a thing that movie studios MIGHT do all the time (many have referenced Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone--which I can mostly believe except for the palpable fucktension in every frame those two share in The Amazing Spider-Man. I literally thought they were going to tear each other's clothes off). It wouldn't even be that hard or complex, in the end. Tell your two stars to go out and get a cup off coffee together and allow themselves to be photographed. Then: stand back and do literally nothing for years while the Internet keeps the ball in the air for you. There's no need to see this as a long con, really--just a semistandard marketing technique that spiraled out of control. And so Summit, pleased with themselves for creating the greatest fake relationship of all time, decided to go big and weird with it. Like the sixth season of The Sopranos. And maybe there's no particular aim here, just random controversy. Or maybe it's a way to get Stewart and Pattinson out of their relationship at the same time they get out of their contracts. (And each one gets a nice little parting gift: a wounded, jilted romantic vibe for Pattinson, and a sexy fuck-minx vibe for Stewart--which she already had on this blog, if not at-large).
Flush with this theory is the rumor that Kristen Stewart is gay, or even asexual, as CDAN apparently claimed. It's a little troubling to think that Kristen Stewart, a young and enlightened person, would want to/allow herself to be closeted for marketing purposes. But maybe she thinks her sexuality is none of our business and she laughs all the way to the bank and then to bed (with Ashley Greene).
But if it is fake, why on earth would Rupert Sanders go along with it? Here's a little one-act play I just wrote:
A PHONE CALL BETWEEN RUPERT SANDERS AND SUMMIT CEO PATRICK WACHSBERGER
Pat: Hi Rupert? This is Pat WachsbergerPretty unlikely, right? So:
Rupert: Oh, hi!
Pat: First of all, before we begin I'm legally obligated to tell you that I, personally, am a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lionsgate Films.
Rupert: Um, OK.
Pat: So, we want to fake a sex scandal between you and Kristen Stewart.
Rupert: Huh. How and why?
Pat: I mean, maybe we'll just take some photos of you guys dryhumping in a parking lot, maybe we'll just shop Stewart's face over some pictures of you with your wife, maybe we'll make a sex tape. We haven't decided how far we want it to go. You in?
Rupert: Well, what would be the benefit?
Pat: Controversy sells, Rupes! People will freak out! And that means big box office come November.
Rupert: It does?
Pat: Yeah! Maybe!
Rupert: OK, well, I mean, why me?
Pat: You're ethnic. You're old. You were her director--
Rupert: Right, and it was my first movie. I can't imagine the starlet-fucking rumors will help me when I want to cast the next one.
Pat: You'd be surprised! Anyway, you were her director, AAAND you're married! Your wife played her mother! Gold! It's very dirty.
Rupert: Yes, my wife. I mean, how do you expect she'll feel about this?
Pat: Hadn't thought about that! But anyway, are you in?
Rupert: Of course not.
Pat: What if I offered you 0.000006% of the profits from Breaking Dawn part 2?
Rupert: Oh my god, that would be so much money! OK, I'll do it!
3. THE SCANDAL IS REAL AND ROBSTEN IS FAKE
Robsten is a construct created by Summit to sell movie tickets. So Stewart and Pattinson have been dating and fucking whomever they please for years while pretending to be an item, and Kristen Stewart made the unwise decision to fuck a married dude, Somebody's handler somewhere decided to dovetail this into the Robsten thing, issuing Stewart's apology with dispatch and aplomb (and indeed for some people the biggest takeaway from all of this was that it finally confirmed Robsten; maybe that was the desired effect), but other than that there's no master plan. That explains a lot of early confusion--Sanders's wife initially denying the scandal, as mentioned above. (She's since gone off the rails in a few different directions.) If this whole thing was a PR masterstroke, that frayed edge wouldn't be there. The speed and efficiency of Stewart's apology gave everybody pause--this is why. It was just some PR flack thinking on her feet.
This one is plausible, but utterly unproveable. So:
4. THE SCANDAL IS REAL AND ROBSTEN IS REAL
And then we're back where we started. This is a real scandal, which would seem like a normal Hollywood sex scandal were it not for the added weirdness value of Twilight fandom. Stewart's apology reflected real, raw guilt, or it reflected an awareness of her moralizing fanbase, or both. Maybe she meant to grovel or maybe she meant to self-destruct, a little bit. Maybe she wanted to piss everyone off. Maybe it was ordered. It sort of feels like it's all three, but how is that even possible?
5. THE SCANDAL IS SORT OF REAL AND ROBSTEN IS SORT OF REAL
The last and best variation on this is that Stewart and Pattinson have an open relationship--either by dint of being young and hot or by dint of being a couple of careerists--and maybe Rupert Sanders and Liberty Moss do too. The pictures were unstaged, but nobody was particularly romantically injured. Everybody apologized fast to keep up appearances and to keep DVD sales of Snow White and The Huntsman high in Oklahoma City, and then they went back to the orgy. Under this interpretation, both Stewart and Pattinson could be fucking Ashley Greene, which is why it feels right for this blog, and why everything about this has shiny, blurry edges, like a mirage.