After the publication last year of Peter Biskind's biography "Star," his victory in a "Dick Tracy" lawsuit, and his wife Annette Bening's Oscar-nomination this year, Warren Beatty has been more visible of late than he has been in a decade; the actor hasn't directed a film since 1998's "Bulworth," and hasn't been on screen since the 2001 train wreck "Town & Country." With all this attention, the 74-year-old star has done something productive with it; namely, started moving towards a new film: a comedy that seems to be the Howard Hughes project that Beatty's been working on for decades.
The project was set up at Paramount back in June, with an impressive roster of names said to be meeting with Beatty about parts. And the good news appears to be that Beatty seemingly landed two of the hottest young stars around at the moment to play the leads in his film. The bad, if the same report can be believed, is that one of them has subsequently dropped out. The gossipy, but often on the money Page Six report that the actor-director had recently "locked and loaded" two stars of "The Social Network," future Spider-Man Andrew Garfield, and "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" lead Rooney Mara, for his project.
However, it looks like Garfield now won't be involved; he would have played the younger version of Hughes (with Beatty playing the elder take), but the film supposedly couldn't pin down its schedule, and Garfield, already committed to a Broadway run of "Death of a Salesman" opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman, was forced to decline. What this means for Mara's involvement is unclear -- Beatty could start from scratch (an unnamed source says that he's going 'back to the drawing board' -- or he could keep her involved, and cast around her. (It's worth noting, through all this, that Garfield's reps told Page Six that he was never officially attached...)
There's also no news as to whether any of the other names mentioned initially are also involved, although long-time friend Jack Nicholson and Mrs. Beatty, Annette Bening, seem like no-brainers, it could be assumed that Shia La Boeuf and Evan Rachel Wood were up for the same parts. Could they yet step up? We're sure that we'll find out soon.