The latest confession to stun the entertainment world is an unusual one: "We are filmmakers."
The team behind the lonelygirl15 YouTube mystery has come forward, claiming that lonelygirl15 is part of their "show" and thanking their fans effusively for tuning in to "the birth of a new art form." They are not, they insisted, "a big corporation."
After amateur sleuths uncovered apparent links between the Creative Artists Agency and the official lonelygirl15 MySpace page, a statement claiming to be from "The Creators" was posted on the lonelygirl15 website late Thursday. It read in part:
"Our intention from the outset has been to tell a story -- A story that could only be told using the medium of video blogs and the distribution power of the Internet. A story that is interactive and constantly evolving with the audience."
The statement sidestepped the issue of lonelygirl15's real identity, saying cryptically, "Right now, the biggest mystery of Lonelygirl15 is 'who is she?' We think this is an oversimplification. Lonelygirl15 is a reflection of everyone."
The statement's authors wrote that they are "in the process of building a website centered around video and interactivity."
Along with her friend "Daniel," lonelygirl15 appears in a series of video blogs, confessional screeds spoken into a video camera and posted on websites such as YouTube. Since June, viewers have questioned whether the videos really depicted a home-schooled, shy girl named "Bree, or whether they were part of some larger project or promotional scheme.
Early reaction from fans to the seeming admission has been mixed. Asked via instant message if she was disappointed, Riana Giammarco, who curates a lonelygirl15 discussion board, said, "Not at all. I knew they were acting, and whether or not it was independent or represented, I didn't really care." She warned, however, that lonelygirl15 "has the potential to become uninteresting if they don't spice it up a bit now that their secret is out."
Chris Patterson, the Tulsa, Okla., software engineer who is part of the group that discovered the CAA connection, said in a phone interview, "I still want to see how the story ends." As for the disappointment many fans are venting on the YouTube pages, Patterson said, "You mess with the emotions of real people and then tell them it was fake and they feel betrayed."
Naturally, some suspect the confession itself might be a hoax. On Friday, the day after it was posted, the lonelygirl15 website could not be accessed, either because of a crash, foul play or another turn in the story. As of press time, neither lonelygirl15 nor the "filmmakers" could be reached for comment.