Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Warren Beatty pressed to direct and star in his Howard Hughes dream project

One of the greatest books on Hollywood we've ever read has been making the rounds of the Tabloid Baby offices. Star, Peter Biskind's biography of Warren Beatty, is an example of sublime, edifying tabloid journalism that manages to combine the professional, political and pertinently personal sides of the legendary actor, director and producer and pull it all into the most entertaining and instructive Industry portraits in years. The book is full of wonders and wild colorful scenes, including one on page 357 that takes place in the desert with Dustin Hoffman and is as classic as any ever put to paper.

But the book and Beatty's greatest are summed up in a Beatty quote from the Bonnie & Clyde days that sums up the role of producer and the willfulness needed to succeed if it prevail.

From page 100:

“It is all detail, detail, detail. A hundred million, thousand, billion details. When it's raining and your girlfriend or your wife is saying, 'Why aren't you doing such and such?' and the person you are working with has to go home and return a call to his press agent, and lunch is being served, and the head of the union says, ‘Well, you have to stay out there for another 10 minutes because they have to have coffee,’ and then the camera breaks down, and there is noise, a plane flying over, and this wasn’t the location that you wanted... are you going to have the energy to devote to the detail of saying, ‘That license plate is the wrong year’? That’s where the stamina, the real fight comes in.”

Star judges Beatty as a talent who didn't live up to his potential because he let life-- as in chasing skirt, playing at politics, and settling into domesticity-- get in the way, and, because he would not direct a film he didn't star in (claiming he needed to pocket both paychecks), failed to carry on to old age greatness like directing contemporary Clint Eastwood, acting pal Jack Nicholson- or Sundance founder Robert Redford, but it holds out- and by its very weight, give news hope that Beatty, approaching 73, will direct and star in his dream project about the later years of Howard Hughes.

If only he were still bankable.

(The boss would like you know that Warren Beatty makes a cameo appearance on page 317 of Tabloid Baby.)

1 comment:

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