One of the most difficult days as an entertainment journalist is April Fools, a day when celebrities make a habit of pulling their own pranks with joke announcements, casting calls, and the like. Sinbad and CollegeHumor set the bar high this year by releasing the “lost footage” from the Shazaam! movie people think happened but really didn’t. Many more of these jests percolated across the Internet on Saturday, including from director Paul Feig, retired swimmer Michael Phelps, Star Trek alum George Takei, and Pitch Perfect star Rebel Wilson.
“It’s OFFICIAL! I’m rebooting Back to the Future with an amazing all-female cast,” director Feig, who witnessed the misogynistic backlash over his Ghostbusters film, announced on Twitter. “#MarieMcFly #BTTF18! Thanks, Bob [Zemeckis], for believing in me.”
Chris O’Dowd, who featured in Feig’s Bridesmaids, bolstered the ruse by tweeting about his role as the gender-swapped Lorraine McFly (now Larry McFly). “You will be amazing,” the filmmaker replied.
Phelps got in on the fun when he seemingly announced over Twitter his return to professional swimming. “Some dreams/goals you just can’t get rid of…been doing a lot of thinking n I’ve decided that I’m going 2 make another comeback,” he wrote with a hashtag for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Despite rumors and hopeful chatter that Phelps might come out of retirement, he told EW in an interview, “The words that I was potentially gonna swim in 2020 never came out of my mouth, so if that has been written or quoted, it is misquoted.” He added, “I couldn’t be happier with how everything finished, but being able to go out how I want to… on my terms I think is what I always dreamt of.”
Moments after his tweet, the official Instagram account for Team U.S.A. confirmed it was all a prank with a caption that read, “#aprilfools.” And Phelps later followed up with another Tweet with the same hashtag and apologizing “for getting some of yalls hopes up.”
The article was reposted on Yahoo Sports and included a faulty statement from Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott, which he had supposedly made at a press conference: “Today, April 1st, 2017, the Buffalo Bills have made a game-changing trade. We have officially acquired Tom Brady in a trade with the New England Patriots. While we know there have been recent rumors about his impending retirement, we here with the Bills organization do hope he reconsiders and joins us to help bring the Bills some Super Bowl glory.”
As for Brady, he took April Fools as a moment to remind everyone about the Patriots’ mind-blowing Super Bowl win over the Falcons. In February, The Boston Globe inadvertently released an edition of the paper that reported a victory for the Falcons. Brady posted the front page on Instagram with the caption, “Happy April 1st! #fakenews.”
Takei, an out gay actor and prominent celebrity supporter of LGBTQ rights, became a trending topic on Saturday when he claimed to be running for Congress. “Well, the cat’s out of the bag it seems,” the 79-year-old tweeted before eventually confirming, “No, I’m not running for Congress. Happy 4/1!”
The actor even posted a link to a fake article on The Daily Buzz in which a statement read, “With what is going on now in the country, I couldn’t stand by any longer merely as a citizen. I knew I had to take a bigger stand. So that’s why I’m running for Congress. My hope is to challenge Devin Nunes for his seat in 2018.”
Wilson caused a bit more of a raucous on the set of Pitch Perfect 3. Crew members rushed to her aid when it seemed as if the star took a serious spill down the steps of her trailer. Wilson posted footage of the prank on Instagram of her shouting “April Fools!”
“I just played the best April Fools gag on my crew with 1000 extras waiting inside,” she tweeted.
Both Bethenny Frankel of Real Housewives of New York City and fashion model Gigi Hadid posted fake photos of themselves with much shorter ‘dos. Frankel’s real hair has been on display through her Skinny Girl social media channels, while Hadid promised her pic with the scissors emoji was just “jokes jokes.”