7th October 2016, 11:46
Always check previous page for missed posted items ...
Only A Decentralised Democracy Can Work - Morris
"There is no choice - and that is by design.
Some other topical news too."
Published on Oct 7, 2016
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to giovonni For This Useful Post:
Aianawa (8th October 2016), Aragorn (7th October 2016), Dreamtimer (7th October 2016), Elen (7th October 2016), pointessa (8th October 2016), Woody (12th October 2016)
7th October 2016, 11:54
The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to giovonni For This Useful Post:
Aianawa (8th October 2016), Aragorn (7th October 2016), Collidescope (7th October 2016), Dreamtimer (7th October 2016), Elen (7th October 2016), modwiz (7th October 2016), Woody (12th October 2016)
7th October 2016, 14:15
Please note i am not ashamed to say i love the art form of acting.
Some might wonder why i would post such an item as this here,
well believe it or not as a boy and later as a young man it was
my ambition to be a professional actor ... You know plays,
films etc ... I did get into acting briefly and even qualified later
to be inducted into the International Thespian Society ...
So humor me a bit for selfishly posting this this long winded,
but very rare interview article piece - since it's the weekend ...
Six Decades In, Warren Beatty Is Still Seducing Hollywood
"In one of the first magazine interviews he’s given in 25 years, the actor, director, and legendary lothario talks to Sam Kashner about his new film, his fascination with Howard Hughes, his wife Annette Bening, and living in the new age of Hollywood while remaining an icon of the past.
Lunch at the Beverly Glen Deli at 1?”
“Yes, at your convenience. At this moment at the school dance concert.”
“Just returned. Let me check with authorities.”
“Timing . . . will call you in 20 minutes, ok?”
“May I call you at 2:30 and we’ll make a plan?”
“Sam, dealing with several things at once. Tomorrow dinner looks good.”
WARREN BEATTY TEXTS!
It was spring. The 2016 Academy Awards had come and gone, and Warren Beatty was hard at work editing Rules Don’t Apply, the first movie he has directed since the 1998 political satire Bulworth, which he also wrote and starred in. He met with me for his first in-depth interview in 25 years, since Norman Mailer’s 1991 profile of him in the pages of this magazine.
He is one of the most famous actors of the second half of the 20th century, was the most talked-about wooer of women in his day (his former paramours are legion, and all are beauties), and is one of Hollywood’s more successful filmmakers, known for equal amounts of shrewdness and seductive charm. He has been called “the Prince of Hollywood,” “the Pro,” and “Boss.” He was a famous movie star before any of them—before Clint, before Redford, before Dustin, before Pacino, even before his good friend Jack Nicholson. Throughout his nearly 60-year career as an actor, director, screenwriter, and producer, Warren Beatty has been nominated for 14 Academy Awards (including best actor, best picture, best director, best original screenplay, and best adapted screenplay), winning the best-director Oscar for Reds in 1981. He pops up in the diaries of Andy Warhol, the journals of J.F.K. historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., a biography of James Baldwin, and countless celebrity memoirs. Although a decade can pass between the release of his movies, when they arrive on the scene they are cultural events. And he’s coming squarely back into the public gaze again this year, with Rules Don’t Apply, the rumored re-release of Bulworth, and the upcoming 50th anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde, in which he starred as Clyde Barrow.
After a cat-and-mouse week of postponed appointments, I was about to give up hope of ever seeing Mr. Beatty and was packing to leave Los Angeles. Suddenly, he playfully texted me, “where the f— are you? I’ve been waiting out here for seconds and seconds!”
At our first meeting, Beatty squinted at me and said, “I’m trying to figure out if I can trust you.”
I raced down to the lobby of the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills, and there he was outside, sitting in his car, parked on the street in front of the hotel. Beatty at 79 is still handsome, still lean, still charismatic. Though his Kennedy hair is now silver, he still has that Dick Tracy chin, that athlete’s loping walk. You can still imagine him on the high-school football field, sauntering up to a cheerleader with an unhurried grace. Diane Keaton, a former girlfriend and his co-star in Reds, once described him as “a collector’s item, a rare bird . . . Warren was stunning.” He doesn’t smoke or drink and has taken good care of himself over the decades. “If you see pictures of me smoking,” he said as we drove up the canyon, “I was acting. What I do like very much is the smell of cigar smoke.” He had the distinction of being sent a box of cigars by none other than Fidel Castro, who admired Reds. “They were just unbelievable. I smoked one every night after dinner, and I talked until four A.M.”
We arrive at his architecturally impressive house, perched atop Mulholland Drive, designed by Beatty. “I haven’t done an interview for a long, long time,” he explains as the gate opens and we pull in to the driveway up to the house. I follow him into the living room.
The views are spectacular: one side looks to the mountains, the other side to the sea. He lives there with his wife of 25 years, the actress Annette Bening, and two of their four children. (Later, it’s sweet to see him texting with his kids, Stephen, Ben, Isabel, Ella. He texts them novellas; they text back a single word, “yeah.”)
At first, however, after we were settled comfortably in his library, Beatty fell silent. Perhaps it was because I was a stranger—those who know him well describe him as the most loquacious of men. I noticed that he chose his words carefully. His sentences seemed to form themselves and break apart before they were even spoken—perhaps a feature of his legendary perfectionism. It was becoming just a little uncomfortable so I screwed up my courage and asked, “What are you thinking?”
He squinted. “I’m trying to figure out if I can trust you.”
After our meeting, we drove down the palm-treed boulevard behind the Beverly Hills Hotel on our way to dinner, quickly passing the former homes of Old Hollywood royalty. He casually acknowledged them as we sped by—“There’s Clifford Odets, and that’s Roz Russell, Kirk Douglas around the corner, and up here is Natalie Wood and R. J. Wagner’s.” These were the people he knew—you could well imagine Clifford Odets standing in his doorway, Beethoven blasting out from the hi-fi, or Roz Russell in her robe and slippers, waving to the mailman and watching him read a salacious postcard from Sinatra in Palm Springs.
“Warren is this link between many different generations of Hollywood,” says Alden Ehrenreich, the 26-year-old actor about to take on the role of Han Solo in the next Star Wars, whom Beatty cast as the young lead in Rules Don’t Apply. “He’s been an active participant in so many different eras, including the end of the golden Hollywood era of the big studios. He really spent the early part of his career learning as much as he could from iconic figures in the film industry—[directors] Elia Kazan and George Stevens, and [studio head] Louis B. Mayer.”
Then there’s the fame. On his way into a California Pizza Kitchen on the less glamorous side of Wilshire Boulevard, a young woman on her way out of the restaurant instantly recognized him: “Oh my god, you’re my favorite actor!”
“And you’re mine,” Beatty fired back. Warren Beatty seduced the world, and the world still seems to be in love with him.
After dinner, Beatty made his way from the back of the restaurant to the exit. You could see it happen: faces lit up with recognition. Suddenly, they were seeing Clyde Barrow, a matchstick stuck between his teeth, or George (in 1975’s Shampoo), distracted and blow-drying a Beverly Hills matron with her head in his lap, or Dick Tracy (in 1990’s Dick Tracy) in his fedora and yellow raincoat. And a few days later, heading back to the parking lot after a memorable hamburger at the Apple Pan, a famed greasy spoon in West Los Angeles, a car slowed down menacingly. The window was lowered. “Reds is the greatest movie ever made!” its driver yelled out.
“Thank you, thank you,” Beatty said as he kept walking, a gentle smile appearing on his face. He often seems sheepish in the glare of his fame. His expression seems to say, “Thank you, but remember it’s only a movie,” though he has given much of his life to Hollywood. Later, when I asked him what the best thing about being famous is, he answered, “I asked Jodie Foster that same question because she’s been famous since she was eight. And you know what she said? She said, ‘Access.’ And she’s right. You can pick up the phone and they’ll take your call.”
Beatty has an uncanny ability to remember phone numbers, particularly hotels where he’s spent time, such as the rather modest, small penthouse at the top of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel where he lived for a while—“310–271–8627.”
Due to be released next month, Rules Don’t Apply has been described as a biographical film about eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, but it’s actually about two would-be lovers finding themselves in the labyrinth of Hollywood against a backdrop of 1950s sexual repression. Beatty plays Howard Hughes in a supporting role.
“There’s this misapprehension that it’s a biopic,” Beatty explains, “which it’s not, although Howard is an important character in it. I wanted to do a story about a girl who comes from being the Apple Blossom Queen of Winchester, Virginia [Marla Mabrey, played by Lily Collins], and a boy who is a Methodist from Fresno [Frank Forbes, played by Alden Ehrenreich], who is under the same religious influences that I was raised in. I wanted to do a story about that young man and that young woman that also deals with money and misogyny in late-1950s Hollywood.”
One doesn’t immediately associate Beatty with puritanical guilt and repression, but that is the world he grew up in, in conservative Virginia in the 1940s and 50s, and the one he has rebelled against his entire life. “I’m afraid it still remains a big subject in America,” he says, “which often makes us the laughingstock of France and other European countries. So I thought this would be fun to deal with—a young man and a young woman involved with an unpredictable billionaire, who had no rules he had to follow because of his inheritance and his way of life. So it’s also about the effect of Hollywood on those rules, and the effect of money.”
The story of a young man coming to Hollywood from a conservative background is one he knows all too well. He and his sister, the actress Shirley MacLaine, were raised by Southern Baptist parents. Still, the family was somewhat bohemian. Their mother was an acting teacher, their father a high-school principal who was also something of a raconteur and bon vivant. Beatty recalled the first time he came downstairs dressed in a suit for church, astonishing his parents. He also admitted being convinced that if he had sex with a girl, he would have to marry her, one of the many autobiographical touches he brings to Rules Don’t Apply. And his high-school football coach telling him, as he looked longingly at the cheerleaders on the sidelines, “Don’t charge the battery if you don’t intend to use the lights”—advice also given to Frank Forbes in the film. Beatty was 20 before he lost his virginity. In casting Ehrenreich as the boy, Beatty chose an actor who reminded him of himself.
“It was more soulful than romantic,” Beatty says of his walk on the beach with Marilyn Monroe.
Nonetheless, the role of Howard Hughes is made to order for Beatty. The reclusive, detail-obsessed Hughes, who was a pilot, an innovative aeronautical engineer, and the owner of the RKO film studio, was considered during his lifetime one of the most unknowable men in Hollywood. He was also a fascinating spectacle and a favorite object of Hollywood gossip, especially in his later years, when he retreated to the desert, occupying the top floor of the Desert Inn, in Las Vegas, living like a hermit surrounded by a cadre of Mormon yes-men.
Martin Sheen, Ed Harris, Dabney Coleman, Matthew Broderick, and Oliver Platt are also in the movie, as well as Alec Baldwin as Howard Hughes’s lawyer Bob Maheu. (In a particularly touching scene, Hughes explains to Maheu why they can never meet face-to-face: He is rightly afraid the bankers would take TWA away from him if they saw his deteriorated condition.)
Like Hughes, Beatty has remained out of the public eye for some time, refusing interviews, taking years off between films. Some in Hollywood went so far as to accuse him of engineering his own fade, like the disappearing movie-star beauty Greta Garbo. Perhaps they don’t know how else to explain his happiness, his domestic bliss. In Hollywood, the greatest fear is not to work. But, for Beatty, it’s the work that creates the anxiety, agonizing over every detail of filmmaking. He avoids doing it for as long as possible, until the anxiety of not doing it boils over, and then a movie—slowly, painstakingly—gets made.
Beatty is always working, always writing, but for the past two decades he was also busy raising his “four, small Eastern European countries that live in our house,” as he describes his offspring, each with their own culture and language and customs. They have thrived under the care of two famous parents, whose celebrity fails to impress them. “One of them recently saw their first Warren Beatty movie, Reds, and claimed to ‘rather enjoy it,’ ” Beatty said. With two teenagers still at home, it seems to be a household run by children, for children.
When Norman Mailer profiled Beatty in V.F. in 1991, he was working on the final edit of Bugsy, and spoke of his pregnant bride-to-be, Annette Bening, who co-starred with him in the story of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, the visionary gangster who opened the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in the 1940s. Since then, there have been more children than movies. He’s more than fine with that—thrilled, in fact. “I think I’ve been lucky enough not to have to do movie after movie after movie for financial reasons, so I’ve been able to live life, and also make movies. I didn’t have to grind them out. I could go long periods where I was living life, rather than tripping over cables. Sometimes life just takes over, as it has taken over with four kids, in a way that has been more wonderful than I could have imagined at an earlier age.”
He was criticized for turning down starring roles in other people’s pictures that became big hits, such as the Burt Reynolds role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights. Earlier, he’d turned down the role of Sundance in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, after insisting unsuccessfully on doing the film with Elvis Presley, and he turned down Marlon Brando’s role in Last Tango in Paris (a role also offered to Jack Nicholson). John F. Kennedy himself wanted Beatty to play him in PT 109, Robert J. Donovan’s account of Kennedy’s heroism in the Pacific during World War II. The president sent Press Secretary Pierre Salinger to ask him, but Beatty didn’t like the script. Later, at a dinner at the Fifth Avenue apartment of Kennedy’s brother-in-law Stephen Smith, the president told Beatty, “Boy, were you smart not to be in that movie!” (Cliff Robertson took the role and the movie flopped.)
He turned down playing Richard Nixon twice—once for Oliver Stone and again in Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon—because he felt that in both films “Nixon was not treated compassionately. . . . I think I was on his enemies list, but I grew to feel sad for him.”
Photographs from and floor-to-ceiling posters of his films adorn his office: Bonnie and Clyde; all the historical witnesses from Reds; Goldie Hawn and Julie Christie peering out of the poster for Shampoo, Beatty hovering over them, holding a hair dryer; Robert Altman’s rain-soaked, revisionist Western, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, featuring a haunted Julie Christie and a bearded Warren Beatty; Heaven Can Wait, with Beatty as winged angel in a tracksuit. Like the pages of a giant, illustrated book of great 20th-century films, Splendor in the Grass, Bonnie and Clyde, Reds, Heaven Can Wait, Dick Tracy, and Bugsy represent Beatty’s gallery of American outliers. Howard Hughes is about to join that pantheon.
“For years Warner Bros. was trying to get me to make a movie about Howard Hughes,” Beatty explains. “[Hughes] did have a way of creating mystery about his involvements, and where he was, and what he was, while also maintaining a level of freedom.” Last year, The New York Times called the movie a “40-year passion project whose status is almost as mysterious as its subject: the industrialist Howard Hughes.” The movie is a love poem to all that’s bad and all that’s good about an America that still belonged to men, and to men like Howard Hughes. It’s a time and a place Beatty knows well, having come up through its dense forests of want and guilt and fame.
The idea for Rules Don’t Apply was sown 40 years ago when Beatty found himself at the Beverly Hills Hotel for a discreet liaison with a young woman who will remain nameless. “I’ve always been, you might call it, secretive, but there I was. I didn’t want to be seen at the moment—many, many, many, many years ago at the Beverly Hills Hotel,” he says with a lopsided grin. “I went to visit someone, and as I walked down the hallway, I saw an open door with two men with crew cuts staring at a television. And I thought, Uh-oh. Tabloids. It didn’t alter my plan for the evening, and when I left the next day, there were two other guys staring out of that same door, and I thought, This is bad.”
He complained to the desk. “I’m sorry that you’ve allowed tabloids to be spying on my friend!” he said, and they asked him to hold on. “They came back to the phone, and they said, ‘Would you keep this in confidence?’
“I said, ‘Well, yes.’
“ ‘Those people are not with the tabloids. They’re with Mr. Hughes.’
“ ‘Are you telling me that my friend is staying in the next suite from Howard Hughes?’
“ ‘Well, we don’t know.’
“ ‘So what are you telling me?’
“ ‘Well, he has seven suites.’
“ ‘Seven suites?’
“ ‘Yes, and confidentially, he has five bungalows.’ “
Beatty was intrigued. Why did the reclusive mogul need seven suites and five bungalows? After a while, Beatty found himself “more interested in why I was interested. There was something about inherited wealth at a young age that gave one a license to go against the rules. And the rules always interested me. It didn’t take me long to surmise that I was more interested in why I was interested than I was in Howard Hughes!” he says with a laugh.
An Actor Prepares
The former football star didn’t set out to be an actor. “I left Northwestern University after a year,” Beatty reminisces, “and was in New York playing piano in a little bar on 58th Street, and I didn’t know whether to go back. And then someone said, ‘You should go to [famed acting coach] Stella Adler. She was Marlon Brando’s teacher.’ I said, ‘What is Stella Adler?’ I was just a redneck football player from Virginia. That’s how much I knew. I got lucky. I was very young.”
Beatty came to Hollywood just as the old studio system was dissolving. He made a five-picture deal with MGM at $400 per week. “I had a car and a nice little house. I had been paying $13 a week in Manhattan, on West 68th Street, and the bathroom was in the hall.” But six weeks after Beatty arrived in Hollywood, playwright William Inge and director Daniel Mann showed up and asked him if he was interested in appearing in Inge’s new Broadway play, A Loss of Roses.
Beatty answered, “Well, I’m a movie actor. I can’t really go back and do a play.”
Inge looked at Beatty and asked, “So, do you feel that you’ve sold out?”
“That’s all he had to say,” recalls Beatty, but first he had to get out of his contract with Lew Wasserman at MCA, at that time the world’s largest talent agency. That wasn’t easy. Beatty was finally making good money, and he’d have to give it back. He asked Wasserman if he could borrow the money from MCA.
Wasserman stared at Beatty for a long time. “What do I look like to you—a bank?”
Beatty took a deep breath and told him, “You look to me like a brilliant agent who will be minus one client if you don’t lend me the $2,400 [I owe you].” Wasserman leaned forward, then burst out laughing. “All right,” he said. “You’ve got the ****ing money.”
Beatty returned to New York to do the play.
A Loss of Roses was a flop, but Beatty got a positive mention in Kenneth Tynan’s review in The New Yorker: “Mr. Beatty, sensual around the lips and pensive around the brow, is excellent as the boy.” More important, Elia Kazan saw him in the play and cast him as Bud in Splendor in the Grass.
The memory of the guilt and repression of his teen years stayed with him, which is partly why he is so heartbreakingly convincing as the tortured teenager Bud, in love with Natalie Wood’s doomed Deanie Loomis, in Splendor in the Grass in 1961, and why he has returned to this theme. Beatty has come full circle. Alden Ehrenreich agrees. “There’s a spiritual connection to Splendor in this film,” he says.
In William Inge’s story, high-school football star Bud and his teenage love, Deanie, are driven mad by their unconsummated desire and by their parents, who meddle in their romance, bent on keeping them “unspoiled,” in Deanie’s case, and saved for a higher-class life at Yale, in Bud’s. The movie launched Beatty’s film career. At 24, he was a star. That should have been the open sesame to all roles, but the one he wanted, Paolo, the Italian gigolo in Tennessee Williams’s adaptation of his novel The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, eluded him. “They kept asking me to play these inhibited young high-school people,” Beatty recalls, “and I thought, No, got to stay away from that. So I get offered The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Jose Quintero, who had the respect of everyone in the theater, [was set to direct], and Lotte Lenya was going to be in it, and Vivien Leigh. And I thought, O.K.! Now I’m playing opposite Vivien Leigh—I’m not playing opposite Sandra Dee—and guess what, they’re paying me $20,000, so I’m all set to go. And then, it’s ‘We’re sorry. Tennessee Williams has casting approval, and he says that whoever plays that part has to be an Italian. He will not accept an American.’ And I thought, Is there something I can do?”
Beatty called Williams’s agent, Audrey Wood, who also happened to be the agent for Inge. “ ‘Should I talk to him? Is there anything I can do?’ She said, ‘I don’t really think you should. He’s in Puerto Rico, and frankly, he’s a little depressed. The reviews for [his 1959 play] Sweet Bird of Youth hadn’t been very good.’ He was also suffering from stomach ulcers, which had flared up at the opening of the play.”
At that point Beatty had never been to Italy and thought all Italians were well tanned. “I bought something that was very new: it was called Man Tan. I smeared myself in Man Tan. I got what I considered to be sort of a pimp suit, nicely fitted and everything, and I flew to Puerto Rico to the Caribe Hilton.” Beatty went into the casino to look for the playwright. He spied Tennessee hunched over a blackjack table. “He looked like he was almost asleep, and he was by himself,” Beatty remembers. “He was drinking milk for his ulcers—that was a mistake, but that’s what people did in those days.”
Beatty asked the waiter to bring him a glass of milk, a tray, and a pad. He wrote on it “Whatever you say. Paolo” and had it delivered to Tennessee. “The waiter was confused but said O.K. He took it over.”
Tennessee distractedly picked up the note and read it. He turned and looked toward the door, where the waiter was pointing. “Tennessee looked at me and said, ‘All right, you’ve got the ****ing part.’ ”
Not usually a fan of movies adapted from his work, the playwright nonetheless later wrote about Roman Spring, “I think that film is a poem,” perhaps a tribute not only to Vivien Leigh’s tragic fragility but to Warren Beauty’s youthful beauty as well.
Ah, if only Warren Beatty had been President,” Norman Mailer once told The Paris Review. Mailer was one in a long line of people who encouraged Beatty to enter politics, even to run for president, as late as 1991.
Though he has never run for office, he has been passionately interested in politics. He became particularly active in the 1960s, during a period of great political upheaval. As he was being gassed with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin in Chicago’s Lincoln Park during the Democratic convention of 1968, he realized he was running late for an appointment with Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic nominee. Four years later, in 1972, he campaigned for George McGovern in his unsuccessful run against Richard Nixon for the presidency. Beatty gave speeches and organized fund-raisers; he even got Simon and Garfunkel to re-unite for a McGovern benefit.
The world and politics almost lost Warren Beatty, however, when he took a wild ride with journalist Hunter S. Thompson after a party at George McGovern’s house in Washington, D.C., in 1972. In Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour’s oral biography, Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson, McGovern’s pollster Pat Caddell recalls that he and Beatty found themselves, with Hunter at the wheel, “racing down the street with a bottle of Wild Turkey between his legs.” He forced a police car off the road and almost drove off a half-finished bridge into the Potomac. Caddell remembers looking over at Beatty, “who was whiter than a sheet.”
Later, Beatty supported Gary Hart’s two bids for the Democratic nomination, in 1984 and 1988, and maintains to this day that “Hart was railroaded” when a photograph of Hart with beauty-pageant winner Donna Rice in his lap was published. “That was a cropped photograph,” says Beatty. “There were 75 people there—it was truly unfair; he would have made a great president.”
Mostly Beatty has remained behind the scenes. He prefers that role, perhaps aware that his wealth and glamour would work against him. Too cautious, perhaps, and too private, Beatty has ultimately refused to run for office. In 1976 he declined to enter the New Hampshire primary against Jimmy Carter. “There has to be someone better” is what he says to those who have urged him to run. His vocal opposition to measures proposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger earned him the enmity of the bodybuilding politician when all of the propositions were defeated. However, despite being a lifelong Democrat, Beatty liked the Reagans, especially Nancy. When he screened Reds for Ronald and Nancy, he remembers, the former-movie-star president told him, “It’s beginning to look like there’s no business but show business.”
Women in Love
Beatty has been described as “a samurai of sex” and “a model of discretion.” A short list of Beatty’s loves is said to include (in alphabetical order) Isabelle Adjani, Brigitte Bardot, Leslie Caron, Cher, Julie Christie, Joan Collins, Britt Eklund, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Elle Macpherson, Madonna, Michelle Phillips, Vanessa Redgrave, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, and Liv Ullmann (our apologies to those left off this list). He also had a somewhat reluctant dalliance with Edie Sedgwick, the waifish Andy Warhol “It girl.”
“I was staying at the Delmonico Hotel, in New York, when there was a phone call from the lobby,” he remembered. It was Sedgwick, whom he had met the night before, with cultural critic Susan Sontag and some others. “I think it was somewhere like Max’s Kansas City [nightclub].” They had only exchanged a few pleasantries, so it was something of a surprise when she showed up the following evening. When he opened the door, she stood in the hallway in a yellow rain slicker, with nothing underneath. The television was on. And taken by surprise, he wasn’t all that sure he could rise to the occasion. But she was insistent, flirting and nuzzling. Eventually he gave in, and as they fell to the floor, they suddenly heard on the television: “One small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind.” Neil Armstrong had stepped onto the surface of the moon. The moment had passed, and the two just stared at the television for the rest of the night.
He also briefly encountered Marilyn Monroe. Peter Lawford had invited him out to his house in Malibu for a night of tacos and poker, and Monroe was there. “I hadn’t seen anything that beautiful,” Beatty recalls. She invited him to take a walk along the beach, which he did. “It was more soulful than romantic.” Back in the house, he played the piano. (He’s a good pianist, by the way, enamored of jazz greats such as Erroll Garner.) Marilyn sat on the edge of the piano in something so clingy that Beatty could tell she wasn’t wearing underwear.
“How old are you?” she asked.
“Twenty-five,” he answered. “And how old are you?” he asked cheekily.
“Three. Six,” she said, as if not wanting to bring the two numbers together. By then, the tacos had arrived, and no one really played poker that night. Warren noticed that Marilyn was already a bit tipsy from champagne, even before the sun had set.
The next day, the producer Walter Mirisch’s brother Harold called. “Did you hear?” he asked. “Marilyn Monroe is dead.” Warren was one of the last people to see Marilyn alive—a story that Beatty tells only reluctantly. He really is one of Hollywood’s most discreet people, in a town and an industry marinated in its own gossip.
In another encounter with a famous seducer, Beatty met with playwright Noël Coward in London, where they had high tea at the Savoy. The master entertainer asked the actor, “Dear boy, have you ever tried homosexuality?”
“No. I have my hands full at the moment,” he replied diplomatically, as ever.
“You really should, you know. It’s marvelous.”
It may be worth mentioning that Beatty has remained on friendly terms with many, if not most, of his former lovers, especially the radiant Julie Christie, who co-starred with him in McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Shampoo, and Heaven Can Wait, and with whom he was involved for five years. She and her husband, journalist Duncan Campbell, still visit the Beattys and stay with them whenever they are in Los Angeles. “When she was on the cover of a magazine when we were together,” Beatty recalls, “I commented on how beautiful she looked. I was always telling her that, which exasperated her. ‘Stop saying that about me!’ ” But years later, she was looking through one of Beatty’s photo albums and saw pictures of herself. The next morning at breakfast, she said, ‘You know, you’re right. I was beautiful!’ “
Beatty himself disputes much of what has been written about him, especially as it pertains to his affairs. “I’ve never talked to anyone writing a book on me,” he says. “I’ve had so much written about me that is made up, usually something that seems silly enough or weird enough to get remarked upon, and it’s pretty much all fiction.”
Beatty reveres Elia Kazan and feels that he owes him his career, but even Kazan apparently got it wrong in his book Elia Kazan: A Life when he wrote that Warren and Natalie Wood began their love affair during Splendor in the Grass. Their romance began a year or more after the film was completed, Beatty says. In another biography, the author publicized his book “by saying some insane number of involvements with women”—12,775—“and if you stopped and thought about it, I’m now a married person of 24 years, and I believe in doing the right thing, and I’ve never been secretive that I had a rather religious youth, and that I didn’t begin this until late—you know, the age of 20. So I would have had to have been with something like three or four people a day, and nobody twice, ever!” With 24 years off for good behavior, that comes to approximately 342 women a year. And so he’s perhaps right in quoting Napoleon: “History is a set of lies that people have agreed upon.”
“The thing you should know about Annette: She is perfect,” Mike Nichols once told Beatty.
As for refuting the rumors, he says, “it’s best not to respond, because then you play tennis with it. You hit it back across the net. Then the people who are exploiting the fallacy get another shot at it, so it becomes three times as prominent. It’s yesterday’s mashed potatoes. . . . These untruths have been ‘true’ about me since 1958. It used to be that they would sell books, but not now. There are very few people you can scandalize profitably.”
A few months later, we met again in New York City at the Carlyle hotel. Warren had come to the city just for the day to screen his new movie and chat it up to the magazines. In the empty, late-morning dining room, we sat surrounded by the great Harry Benson’s photographs—Jacqueline Kennedy regally entering a room, Bianca Jagger being photographed by Andy Warhol, reflected in a mirror. Warren noticed me noticing these great beauties—“Not true,” he said about Jackie, before I could even ask. I nodded toward Bianca’s photograph. “Also not true.” I noticed a masked Mia Farrow from a photograph of Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball. “Mia?” I asked. He shook his head no.
All About Annette
‘Annette’s a very unusual woman,” said David Geffen. The entertainment titan has known Beatty for more than four decades. “We go back to the year that Howard Hughes died, in ‘76,” he recalled. “I was around when the Howard Hughes movie was first being considered at Warner Bros.” When the subject of Beatty’s marriage to Bening comes up, he muses, “It takes a lot of confidence to marry Warren. He’s a great husband and father, and before he was both of those things, he was a great Casanova. What can we say? It’s an incredible collection of lovers. You can’t ignore it. It’s impossible. That’s like ignoring that Muhammad Ali is black.”
Beatty’s marriage to Annette has disproved Casanova’s dictum “Marriage is the tomb of love.”
“For me, I would not submit to it until I was 54,” says Beatty. “There’s a lot to be said for doing it at a time where, if you’re going to have children, you’re sure to be around when the shit hits the fan—whatever the shit is, and whatever the fan is.”
Years before she ever met Beatty, Bening had asked actress Glenne Headley (who played Tess Trueheart in Dick Tracy) about him. “Warren is my favorite director—the best director I ever worked with,” she replied. A surprisingly down-to-earth beauty from the American heartland, Bening had already attracted glowing reviews in films such as Valmont (1989) and The Grifters (1990), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. She later picked up three more nominations for American Beauty (1999), Being Julia (2004), and The Kids Are Alright (2010).
They met in 1991 when Beatty cast her to play the notorious good-time girl Virginia Hill in Bugsy. When he first interviewed her for the film, Warren said, “I want you to know that I’m not going to come on to you.” But when filming was over, it all happened very quickly. Beatty realized what he was giving up if he allowed himself to fall in love with her, but it happened. When Warren called Mike Nichols, who had directed him in The Fortune and Annette in Regarding Henry and Postcards from the Edge, to tell him that he was going to marry “the actress Annette Bening,” Nichols remarked, “Well, there’s one thing you should know about her . . .” Long pause. “She’s perfect.”
When I ask Beatty what he would do if he ever found out that Annette had an affair with someone else, he replies, “I would pass out. And then when I woke up, I would try to be modern.”
Beatty talked glowingly about the cast of Rules Don’t Apply. “Lily and Alden are both smart. I find them both inspiring. Makes you feel like going to work. By the way,” he added coyly, “I feel the same way about this woman Annette Bening. She makes you feel like doing it.” It was our last day together. As we exited the deli, we noticed a strangely familiar face. It was the actor Robert Blake, now with a rooster’s crest of white hair, sitting in a banquette with a young woman and waving Beatty over.
“Come! Sit—sit down with the crazy man!”
Blake (In Cold Blood, TV’s Baretta) began to talk about how he knew Natalie Wood when they were both child actors. “She was eight and I was three,” he said. “I heard Kazan couldn’t get her into the water in Splendor,” he continued, referring to the deceased actress’s well-publicized fear of dark water.
“No, it’s just not true,” Beatty said, meeting Blake for the first time.
“I know what happened that night [when Wood drowned off Catalina Island],” Blake insisted, making everyone suddenly uncomfortable. “I know people. I know when people are telling the truth. I’ve been on trial for murder!” (In 2005 Blake was acquitted of the murder of his second wife, Bonny Lee Bakley.)
We had suddenly stepped through the cracked looking glass of Hollywood, where the past is never completely past. We left the deli and emerged into the bright sunlight of Beverly Glen.
I spoke with Annette Bening just before she headed out to the gym one afternoon, and I asked her about her husband as a director.
“He’s remarkable because he works so hard. That’s true of most people with talent,” she told me. “Everyone that he’s worked with knows this about him—his attention to detail and his stamina, his not giving up, and caring about every detail and every moment, his suffering over everything—that is very unusual. And he loves actors and he respects them, and he respects the intelligence of actors.” She admitted to having had a blast on the set of Rules Don’t Apply. “We improvised, and we would do takes, and he would say, O.K., do whatever you want. I love that! When you have a good structure around you, improvising is a joy.”
Lily Collins, the 27-year-old actress who impressed Beatty and everyone else in the 2012 film Mirror Mirror, is the daughter of the Genesis drummer and pop star Phil Collins. Her character in the movie, Marla, is endlessly waiting for her screen test from Howard Hughes, to the great mistrust of her mother, Lucy Mabrey, played by Bening. It was not unlike what Lily had to go through, waiting to hear from Beatty if she got the part.
“From our first meeting to the second, it was a couple of months, a long process of just meeting and talking about life. And then, finally, reading the script.” He eventually invited her to meet Alden and maybe try out a scene or two. “I still had no idea if I was doing the movie,” she recalled. Finally, her agent phoned Beatty, who assured him that, yes, she was in the movie. “There was never an audition, just a month of hanging out and chatting. I think Warren reads people. He’s a great judge of character. He was auditioning me in a way through just meeting me. That’s part of his brilliance. He knows what he’s looking for. I feel it totally mirrored my character—and I don’t know if that was on purpose! Marla just wants to please Howard Hughes, and is just waiting and waiting.”
Marla turns out to be a strong character, standing up to her strict, hovering mother. “I feel like that’s very Warren, because he loves strong women—I mean strong women in life, but also strong female characters. Warren has never been afraid of ballsy women—he loves that. He really respects women who are intelligent and not afraid to express their opinions. There’s no question as to why Annette is his wife; I mean, she is the most incredible, intellectual, brave, vocal woman, and he just loves that!” When asked about the other female characters in his movies—Faye Dunaway’s Bonnie Parker, Annette Bening’s Virginia Hill, Diane Keaton’s Louise Bryant, Halle Berry’s Nina—Warren says, “Well, that’s no surprise, if you grew up with my mother and my sister [Shirley MacLaine].”
Beatty met Alden Ehrenreich in 2009 after seeing him in his first film, the Frances Ford Coppola-directed Tetro, when Alden was only 19. His audition for Rules Don’t Apply lasted five years, even longer than Lily’s. “I spent the first two years of our relationship where he wouldn’t let me read the script, so I just spent all that time talking and getting to know him. He really made it clear that he was kind of studying me while this was happening. And then, eventually, after a couple of years, he allowed me to read the script. I think his feeling was that I was too young for the role, but by the time we shot it, in 2014, I was 24.”
Beatty brought the two young leads together and involved them in the whole process—scouting locations, sitting in on production meetings. “It was extraordinarily generous of him to give me an insight into the process,” says Alden. “You usually just show up as an actor when those things are already done. This is as much about leadership as it is about artistry.”
‘Warren is not his age. He’s timeless, he’s fearless, he’s just . . . very singular. He stays up with the times because of his kids, or just because he loves what he does. There’s no one quite like him,” says Lily Collins. “Annette and Warren have created this amazing family who are, for all intents and purposes, ‘normal,’ and that’s a testament to how they both raised them.”
Just as Beatty was something of a sexual revolutionary in the years emerging from the strict mores of the 1950s, so his firstborn child is also a revolutionary. Stephen, who is challenging cultural norms of sexuality, is an activist for the transgender community. Identifying as transitioned at the age of 14, he changed his name from Kathlyn Elizabeth to Stephen Ira. A poet and writer, he posted an “Answer to Seven Questions” about his gender identity on the “WeHappyTrans” Web site. One is struck by Stephen’s insouciant intelligence—he manages to be playful, erudite, and eloquent all at once.
“He’s a revolutionary, a genius, and my hero, as are all my children,” Beatty says when asked about Stephen.
With his children growing up and two of them now out of the house, “there’s something about the empty nest that makes you say, ‘Well, maybe I should go out and make a movie.’ It’s like Cocteau said [quoting the French poet Paul Valery], ‘A poem is never finished, it’s only abandoned.’ And that’s the way it is with movies—like children. You continue to work on them, and work on them, but then you have to let them go.”
By SAM KASHNER / source page
Warren Beatty, right, with Alden Ehrenreich and Lily Collins.
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Rules Don’t Apply | Teaser Trailer [HD]
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