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.