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December 2016

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Page 11 of 45 8 POST DECEMBER 2016 DIRECTOR'S CHAIR living legend and a towering presence in cinema, Oscar-winner Warren Beatty remains one of Hollywood's last great male icons and last links to the old studio system. He starred in his first film, Splendor in the Grass, back in 1961, and since then, he's made an eclectic range of films, including such classics as Bonnie and Clyde, Shampoo, Bugsy, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, The Only Game in Town, Lilith, and The Parallax View. Only Beatty and Orson Welles (for Citizen Kane) have been nominated by the Academy as an actor, director, writer and producer for the same film — and Beatty is the only person ever to have done it twice, for Heaven Can Wait and again for Reds. Over the course of six decades and some 40 films, the movie star has also metamorphosed into an ambitious and accomplished filmmaker whose credits include Reds, Heaven Can Wait, Dick Tracy, Bulworth and his latest film, Rules Don't Apply, which he wrote, produced, directed and stars in. Set in 1950s Hollywood, the film tells the story of the burgeoning romance between aspir- ing actress Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) and her ambitious driver Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich). Both are employed by Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty), the secretive billionaire movie mogul, famed aviator and legendary eccentric — and the ultimate rule breaker. Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, a very playful Beatty talks about making the film, stardom, Howard Hughes and his love of post. I last interviewed you 18 years ago for Bulworth, which now seems incredibly prescient. This is the first film you've directed since then. Why the big rush? (Laughs) "Yeah, I could have taken an- other 18 years! It just took a long time to get it just right." Given all that, what sort of film did you set out to make? "I thought I was going to make a film that involved three people, one being Howard Hughes, who I've always been extremely amused by — his need to hide, his outra- geous indulgences — and simultaneously, since I first became aware of him when I came to Hollywood, I wanted to do a movie about someone arriving here and getting involved with him." You've probably met every famous person in the world, but you never met Howard Hughes, right? "True. I never met him, but I felt that I met everyone who did ever meet him, and who had all these experiences with him. And he was very well-liked. No one spoke ill of him. I almost met him. Here I was in Hollywood, in 1964, and I had what I'd consider to be an appropriate level of paranoia, and I'd become — what do you call it when you've just had a huge hit?" A movie star? "Thank you. You said it, I didn't. (Laughs hard) Anyway, because of that, I was slightly paranoid about the tabloids — and I feel that a man who isn't slightly paranoid isn't in full possession of the facts. And I was at the Beverly Hills Hotel and I felt I was being spied on by these two guys hanging around in the hallway outside my room. So I called the front desk and told them how disappointed I was that they'd allow tabloid reporters in to spy on me, and they said, 'Mr. Beatty, those people are not with the tabloids — they're with Mr. Hughes.' So I said, 'Are you telling me that Howard Hughes is in the next suite to me?' And they said, 'We don't know. He has seven suites — and confidentially, he also has five bunga- lows.' And from that moment, I thought, I have to get this in a movie. It could be a French farce. And so I always had that in mind and I heard all these bizarre stories about him that were sort of trivial but hilarious. "So I knew it could have all these comedic elements, and I wanted to do a story about that guy I was, that came to Hollywood and was dazzled by all the people I met, like Sam Goldwyn and David Selznick and Billy Wilder and Jack Warner. They were nice to me, and Frank's character in this is someone I could relate to. And what was most interesting to me were the effects — comedic and sad — and consequences of American sexual Puritanism, that thing that's so often made us the laughing stock of France and so much of Europe. So you had all this hypocrisy about sex, and then the rise of feminism in the '50s and early '60s, which helped to lead us into the sexual revolution of the '60s, and all that really fascinated me. And I came from Virginia, a southern Baptist, and grew up with all that background, all the changes taking place, and then the idea that in movies it was OK to kill as many people as you want, but don't be sexy. And then a person coming to WARREN BEATTY: RULES DON'T APPLY THE MOVIE STAR WHO METAMORPHOSED INTO AN ACCOMPLISHED FILMMAKER BY IAIN BLAIR A The film was cut by a team of four editors.

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