Of all the Hollywood hotshots I’ve interviewed or played verbal tennis with since I got going as a journalist in the early ’80s, Warren Beatty has been far and away the most fun to fritter away the time with. Because as good as they taste, Beatty chats always feel nutritional on some level after they’re over. And you always feel good about having spoken to someone as silky-polite and considerate as he.
I’ve never actually “interviewed” Beatty, but I’ve been shooting the shit with him for 25 years. Off the record, I mean. And yet our very first chat (a discussion about the limited marketing effort on behalf of Reds) happened in the fall of ’81. There’s no seminal figure like Beatty, no one who has greater stories, who’s more personally charming, whose life more fully reflects and encompasses the most tumultuous and fascinating era in American history (early ’60s to the present), who knows or has known nearly every person of consequence in this town and in Washington, D.C. combined for the last 55 years, and whose apparent disinterest in not wanting to write a great Balzacian novel of the 20th Century is…well, on one level I’m sorry but on another level, fine, whatever.
Beatty has recently been inviting journalists to his Mulholland Drive home to discuss Rules Don’t Apply, including Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson, Deadline‘s Pete Hammond, Vanity Fair‘s Sam Kashner, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg, L.A. Daily News guy Bob Strauss and N.Y. Times profiler Cara Buckley. The process will continue until the film opens on 11.23. This 18 year-old Charlie Rose Show discussion [above] is worth revisiting. At the tail end Rose asks Beatty if he’ll ever make his Howard Hughes film. Beatty says yes, but…I’ll explain later.