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The news broke the day before yesterday, and was forwarded to me by 1,001 wonderful Slog tippers. From joeblo.com:

According to German publication/site Extratipp, writer/director Marc Vorlander has been developing a [Showgirls sequel] called SHOWGIRLS: STORY OF HOPE, one centered on the original’s minor character, Hope — played then and now by model/actress Rena Riffel. The project, says the trade, is so “good” it attracted two Hollywood producers and a $25M budget for production in Frankfurt. “It’s about stripper who died from a dose of contaminated cocaine. Her brother comes to Frankfurt to find the responsible and revenge.”

Aside from this Extratipp report, the only evidence of the allegedly forthcoming Showgirls sequel is the completely baffling official website and an IMDB page for would-be director Marc Vorlander, which literally features nothing.

So, for the inside scoop I contacted the woman who originated the role of Penny/Hope: Rena Riffel, who I've gotten to know via our shared status as people whose lives were irrevocably altered by Showgirls, and who is just as confused about this would-be sequel as everyone else. From our phone chat of this morning:

Tell me everything you know about Showgirls 2: Story of Hope.

RENA RIFFEL: I know nothing about it!

What?! The baffling web page ostentatiously showcases an enthusiastic quote from you, and you're name-checked in the original news item!

I know. I'm kinda speechless. A Showgirls fan forwarded me the website last week. I saw my name in it, and I almost fell off my chair.

Was this the first you'd heard of Marc Vorlander?

He contacted me a year ago—that's when I gave him that quote he uses in the preview. He told me he wanted to make a Showgirls sequel and asked if I was interested. I was, but wanted to know how he was dealing with copyright issues and getting rights from the powers-that-be that own the characters from Showgirls. He said he was working it out, raising money, but then I never heard from him again.

So what do you make of the proposed Story of Hope?

I imagine it's just a rogue production, made by someone who has a great passion for Showgirls. I've emailed [Marc Vorlander] the last few days, but he won't email me back, which isn't a good sign. It's wonderful that's there "heat," as they say—Nomi's got heat, and now Hope's got some heat—but I feel bad that the fans are getting excited and it could be a big lie.

Speaking of would-be Showgirls sequels: Some people have read your role in Mulholland Drive as a possible continuation of Hope/Penny's story. Was that ever made explicit on-set, or are people just projecting?

I think that's people projecting. But in that alternate universe of David Lynch and Penny, I can see how that fits. David Lynch never mentioned such a thing, but the film was cast by the same casting director as Showgirls, so I have a feeling Lynch had seen it.

He'd better have. Will you please keep me posted on any and all Story of Hope developments?

Sure! It's weird that they're advertising it as if I'm totally down with it, but maybe they'll surprise us with some happy fairytale ending.

Stay tuned for updates on this crushingly important matter.