Warren Beatty's Secret Project Is A Howard Hughes Film; Alec Baldwin, Jack Nicholson Circling Roles

by Edward Davis
June 22, 2011 12:04 PM
9 Comments
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Other Actors Eyeing The Project Include Andrew Garfield, Annette Bening, Shia La Beouf, Evan Rachel Wood and Rooney Mara



File under 'very intriguing development': after more than a decade away from directing (with 1998's underrated political satire "Bulworth"), last week it was reported that 74-year-old Warren Beatty would be returning to Hollywood, helming a new untitled comedy for Paramount. Playlist writer Sam Price, perhaps a little cynical that evening, posited the question: is anyone going to care? Are his best days behind him?

Sam might be eating his shoe as we speak: details of Beatty's new project have leaked and the project sounds tantalizingly stellar. Was a "comedy" misdirection? Deadline has more information about who's potentially involved in the project with regards to casting, but not exactly a treasure trove of details about the plot. However, they have learned the important parts: Beatty will play Howard Hughes but the film will not be a biopic and this story has been in the works for 25 years. It was first reported, and confirmed as a Hughes project, by Showbiz411 yesterday.

Beatty is set to write, direct and star in the project that first saw the light of day way back in his heyday when “Ishtar” screenwriter Elaine May penned a draft. No word on how much, if any, of that initial script will be used, but the potential cast, Deadline says, boasts a litany of top-shelf A-listers like Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, the upcoming "Spider-Man" Andrew Garfield, Annette Bening, Shia La Beouf, Evan Rachel Wood and "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" star Rooney Mara.

How will the story involve these thespians coming together? Deadline says "part of the plot involves an affair he had with a young woman in the later years of his life," but Showbiz 411 says we could see also younger actors play Hughes, as the film calls for flashbacks as well. Comedy or not, this sounds super intriguing. Color most of us, possibly minus Sam, onboard.

Hughes is obviously a fascinating figure. Martin Scorsese told part of his story in 2004's "The Aviator" -- personally a film this writer admires technically, more than loves -- and Christopher Nolan's been reportedly trying to mount his own Hughes project after "The Dark Knight Rises," but it sounds as if he'll be beaten by Beatty. 2007's "The Hoax" is also centered around Hughes, as is Jonathan Demme's 1980 film, "Melvin And Howard." The man's ambitious and kooky tales inspired many.

This is pretty much an extra kick in the pants reminder to this writer to get off his ass and read Peter Biskind's "Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America" already.

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9 Comments

  • Gregori Robinson | January 5, 2014 12:18 PMReply

    The story as to how Jean Peters got to Hollywood and became a star is a very important part of her story. As told through her agent Paul Robinson, my father of the "House of Portraits". The whole ordeal of staging the 1945 Miss Ohio State Contest while the war was still ragging, and Hollywood being under huge financial stress. The London film business was in shambles and contributed to an emotionally charged scenario

    Lucy O'Ball was outraged that a new starlet was being groomed when more seasoned actors were barely working.

    It was Paul who first discovered her on OSU campus, staged the Miss Ohio State Contest and brought Jean Peters, the winner, to Hollywood. This was carefully planned, securing sponsorship with Hughes for flights on Pan American, and staging the event at Hughes' RKO Palace in Columbus. Paul had a contract with Fox for screen tests and an agreement with LOOK to cover her time in Hollywood. (Story supported by documents, photos and articles from the House of Portrait archives.) In the end Jean had a successful career based on he abilities as an actress, and being pleasant and integral to work with.

  • ANDRES NOB | August 5, 2011 5:54 AMReply

    A NOTE OF CLARIFICATION TO WARREN BEATTY:
    IT'S A SHAME SCORCESE DISPLAYED SO MANY UNTRUE FACTS ABOUT HUGHES IN THE AVIATOR. SPECIALLY ABOUT HIS WOMEN (HEPBURN AND GARDNER WERE PART OF A LONG LIST OF CONQUESTS AND NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT LADIES IN HIS LIFE), AND ABOUT HIS PHOBIAS (WHICH DIDN'T SURFACE TO FULL POTETIAL UNTIL AFTER HIS MARRIAGE TO JEAN PETERS)

    HOWARD HUGHES' ONLY TWO LEGITIMATE WIVES WERE ELLA RICE (1929) AND THE GORGEOUS ACTRESS JEAN PETERS (1957 TO 1971), WHOSE CAREER WAS CUT SHORT AFTER ONLY 19 MOVIES TO HER CREDIT WHEN SHE MARRIED THE BILLIONAIRE. AT THE TIME SHE LEFT HOLLYWOOD TO MARRY HUGHES, FOX WAS MOLDING HER INTO A TOP STAR BECAUSE THEY WANTED A REPLACEMENT TO SUSAN HAYWARD (WHO WAS TEN YEARS OLDER THAN JEAN).
    TERRY MOORE, ON THE OTHER HAND, HAS NEVER PRODUCED A CERTIFICATE OR A ANY PROOF OF HER MARRIAGE TO HUGHES. IN FACT, IF SHE HAD INDEED BEEN MARRIED TO HUGHES, THEN SHE'D BE A BIGAMIST (OR TRIGAMIST). SHE MARRIED THREE OTHER MEN AFTER HER SO-CALLED SECRET MARRIAGE TO HUGHES (AND NEVER SEEKED A DIVORCE). CURIOUSLY, ONE OF THE MEN SHE MARRIED WAS STUART CRAMER, JEAN PETERS' EX-HUSBAND. JEAN AND STU CRAMER WERE DIVORCED IN 1956. MOORE MET HIM AT A PARTY GIVEN BY ACTRESS ANN MILLER IN 1959 AND SUBSEQUENTLY MARRIED HIM.
    HOW COULD MOORE HAVE LEGALLY MARRIED THREE TIMES IN THE INTERIM (50'S AND 60'S) IF SHE WAS REALLY MARRIED TO HUGHES IN 1949, AS SHE CLAIMED IN 1976? WHY DIDN'T SHE SPEAK OUT IN MORE THAN TWO DECADES ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT MARRIAGE AND WAITED UNTIL HUGHES WAS DYING (AND DEAD) TO PUBLICLY REVEAL THE SHADY DETAILS OF THEIR WEDDING? BACK THEN, HUGHES STAGED MANY FAKE WEDDINGS WITH FEMALE STARS OF THE TIME JUST TO GET THEM TO BED. AND TERRY MOORE WAS NO EXCEPTION.
    I'VE DONE EXTENSVE RESEARCH ON PETERS AND HUGHES AND I AM CERTAIN THIS BEATUFIL LADY WAS THE BILLIONAIRE'S ONE TRUE LOVE SINCE 1946. HE COULD HAVE MARRIED MANY OTHER ACTRESSES IN 1957. THERE WAS A HERD OF FAMOUS ACTRESSES AT THE TIME WAITING FOR HIM TO BECKON -SUSAN HAYWARD, DEBRA PAGET, MOORE HERSELF, KATHERINE GRAYSON, AMONG MANY OTHERS-, BUT HE WAITED OVER TWO YEARS FOR PETERS, UNTIL HER DIVORCE FROM CRAMER WAS GRANTED IN DECEMBER 1956 -SO THEIR JANUARY 1957 MARRIAGE WASN'T A SPUR OF THE MOMENT DECISSION AS MANY BIOGRAPHERS HAVE STATED. FURTHERMORE, HUGHES KEPT JEAN ON CLOSE SURVEILLANCE AFTER THIER DIVORCE IN 1971 AND CONFESSED TO SEVERAL PEOPLE (INCLUDING HIS AIDES AND HIS PERSONAL DOCTOR) THAT SHE'D BEEN THE ONLY WOMAN IN HIS LIFE THAT HE'D TRULY LOVED. HE ALSO LEFT A NOTE DECLARING HIS UNDYING LOVE FOR PETERS BEFORE HIS DEATH IN 1976.
    PS/ HUGHES DID ADMIT TO HAVING LOVED ONE WOMAN OTHER THAN PETERS -BUT ONLY ONCE -IN THE THIRTIES; AND CONTRARY TO ALL THE RUMORS AND FALSE BELIEFS THAT HE FELL MADLY IN LOVE WITH KATE HEPBURN, IT WAS GINGER ROGERS THAT HE SAID HE LOVED, BACK THEN.
    I ALSO KNOW ALL ABOUT HUGHES' SON (HE'S NOT JEAN PETERS CHILD, THOUGH). HUGHES III, ACTUALLY WAS AT HIS FATHER'S BEDSIDE IN ACAPULCO WHEN HOWARD HUGHES WAS DYING -AND HE'S CLOSELY PROTECTED BY HUGHES' HEIRS. HE WAS THEN MARRIED TO THE GRAND-NIECE OF A PROMINENT FOREIGN PRESIDENT.

  • Jack | July 26, 2011 9:58 AMReply

    I'm looking forward to the new biopic of Howard Hughes. Hopefully there will be more truths told about him. Even though it has been written that he was not able to walk or that he had long hair and long finger nails or that he never returned to Las Vegas is that really true? I will agree that he had long hair down to his shoulders and his finger nails were from 1/4 to 3/8", but I don't agree with him not being able to walk or that he never returned to Las Vegas after leaving on November 20, 1970. The reason why is because I witnessed a photograph being taken of him in front of the Mint Hotel in Las vegas in March of 1971. Howard Hughes with Levar B. Myler, (a senior penthouse aide) to his left and John H. Meier, (his business manager who is better known for his involvement in Watergate) standing to his right. In the front passenger seat of the black Cadillac Limo that was parked at the curb sat John M. Holmes Jr.,(another senior aide). Hopefully this photo will be found so the stories about Mr Hughes can be corrected. For more details on how I know can be found with a search search under Levar B. Myler.

  • Paul | June 23, 2011 4:23 AMReply

    Why should anyone feel sorry for Nolan? He's one of the five most sought after filmmakers in the world? If he wants to make a film about Howard Hughes no one is going to be able to stop him.

  • re | June 23, 2011 3:48 AMReply

    Sounds great but at his pace Beatty couldn't "beat out" DW Griffith....

  • rodie | June 23, 2011 3:45 AMReply

    Don't feel too bad Ann. Nolan is A LOT younger than Beatty. Nolan has plenty of time in his career to make his own Howard Hughes movie. He can wait 20 years if he wants to put more distance between films about the same guy. Plus, something tells me he as many other ideas for films and opportunities for adaptations and such in the mean time.

  • Walt "Fred" Kowalski | June 23, 2011 2:16 AMReply

    Excellent article and even more excited by this news than yesterday's simply being glad to see the man back on screen. It was sounding a little like it could have been another "Love Affair" or "Town and Country" but this could put it in at very least "Bugsy" territory if not that of "Shampoo," "Reds," "McCabe" and "Bonnie."

    P.S. Sorry, Sam, you're still welcome on my lawn but Edward gets the Gran Torino after I depart.

  • Sam Price | June 22, 2011 12:59 PMReply

    Hey! I like Warren Beatty! That said, this shoe is delicious.

  • ann | June 22, 2011 12:36 PMReply

    Kinda feel sorry for nolan, someone else beat him to punch again....

    Anyway i guess i'm somewhat excited but it's Warren Beatty, he let me down a couple time, so i'll wait for the end product.

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