Gossip (2000 American film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Davis Guggenheim
Produced by Jeffrey Silver
Joel Schumacher
Written by Gregory Poirier
Theresa Rebeck
Starring James Marsden
Lena Headey
Norman Reedus
Kate Hudson
Marisa Coughlan
Joshua Jackson
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography Andrzej Bartkowiak
Edited by Jay Cassidy
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Roadshow Entertainment (Australia & New Zealand)[1]
Release dates April 21, 2000
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $24 million
Box office $12,591,270

Gossip is a 2000 American teen drama film directed by Davis Guggenheim and featuring an ensemble cast including James Marsden, Lena Headey, Norman Reedus, and Kate Hudson.


The movie takes place on a college campus in the Northeast. Derrick Webb (James Marsden), Cathy Jones (Lena Headey), and Travis (Norman Reedus) are students as well as roommates. They all take a Communications class with Professor Goodwin (Eric Bogosian), in which the subject of gossip is brought up. For their final project, the three students decide to start a rumor and track and see the results. One night while at a nightclub, they run into Naomi Preston (Kate Hudson) and her boyfriend Beau Edson (Joshua Jackson). It is common knowledge through the campus that Naomi is saving her virginity for marriage. Jones (as Cathy is called throughout the movie) in particular has a problem with Naomi's wealth and sense of entitlement. Furthermore, Naomi seems to have started a rumor about Jones having sex with Professor Goodwin.

While at the party, Derrick meets a girl and brings her upstairs. At this point the girl becomes ill; Derrick then notices Beau and Naomi in the adjacent room kissing. Beau attempts to have sex with Naomi but is rejected. Derrick, Jones, and Travis proceed to begin a rumor that Naomi and Beau had sex. The story begins to vary wildly, first involving a threesome, but soon, due to the nature of gossip, it becomes a story of Beau raping Naomi.

Ending in detail[edit]

Naomi, who knows she had passed out, believes that Beau may have raped her while she was unconscious. Beau is subsequently arrested and charged with the rape. When Jones tries to call off the project, Derrick creates doubt in Jones' mind by insisting he doesn't know for sure whether or not Beau raped Naomi.

Jones, feeling that the hoax has gone too far talks to Naomi. Jones mentions Derrick's name and Naomi abruptly tells her to get out of the apartment. It is revealed that Naomi and Derrick attended the same high school. Jones, confused, goes to Naomi and Derrick's old high school. She finds that Derrick was accused of raping Naomi when they were both in high school. Jones rushes back to the apartment and confronts Derrick, who explains that it was consensual but then Naomi pressed charges. Derrick goes to Naomi's dorm room and tells her that he set her boyfriend up as revenge for ruining his life in their hometown.

They fight, and she scratches him on the cheek and bites his hand, leaving marks. He takes a picture from her room, a reminder of their high school night in question. He returns to his apartment, having been observed leaving Naomi's apartment by Travis. The next morning Travis breaks the news to Jones and Derrick that Naomi was found dead in her room. At first it's called a suicide, but then Derrick becomes a suspect after he is visited by Detective Curtis (Edward James Olmos) and since he was the last person to see her alive. Worried that the police might tie him with the crime scene and Naomi's death, Derrick gives Travis a picture from Naomi's room and tells him to implicate himself as the last person to see Naomi alive. Travis suspects him but agrees to the plan because he doesn't have motive.

Back in class, Professor Goodwin gets the class to accuse and blame Derrick for Naomi's death; 'You killed her' says Sheila (Marisa Coughlan), Naomi's friend. Derrick returns to his apartment to confront Jones, whom he suspects as being the one to tell Professor Goodwin of his involvement in the rumor. But when he arrives, Detective Curtis is waiting with a warrant to search the rooms. Jones confesses to being the one who told Professor Goodwin and Derrick tells her to take the blame and move out. He proceeds downstairs and is shocked to discover that the detectives have found planted evidence in his room. He turns on Travis, telling the police that he stalked Naomi. When Detective Curtis asks another cop where Travis is, the cop responds that Travis has fled. Detective Curtis and the cop go after Travis, but not before telling Derrick that he was the better suspect and that they were going to match Derrick's DNA to the skin found under Naomi's nails.

Derrick starts to pack his belongings and prepares to run. Jones observes Travis buying a gun. As Derrick attempts to leave through the roof, he's confronted by Travis, who explains that he won't let Derrick get away with it. When he and Derrick get in a fight, the gun goes off. Jones is shot in the chest and apparently dies. When Travis threatens to tell the police Derrick killed Jones, Derrick finally confesses to raping Naomi in high school, which is captured on tape. Jones stands up, uninjured. Professor Goodwin, Sheila, Detective Curtis (who it's revealed is actually Naomi's father's driver) and another cop (who is actually a student in Jones' calculus class) emerge one by one. Naomi, with Beau beside her, comes out of hiding last, revealing Derrick is the victim of an elaborate hoax designed to make Derrick pay for his lies. In the end, Derrick is left by himself, wondering what people will say. Travis proclaims that "It's only words, how bad can it be?" which is what Derrick said when downplaying the danger of rumors.



Gossip received negative reviews from critics and currently holds a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 65 reviews.

Box office[edit]

The film opened at #12 at the North American box office making $2.3 million USD in its opening weekend. The film suffered a 59% decline in box office earnings the following week, descending to #17.


  1. ^ "Film Distribution - Village Roadshow Limited". Village Roadshow Pictures. 2014-02-11. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 

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