Congratulations to Warren Beatty for being honored with the 36th AFI Life Achievement Award. The ceremony starts this evening at the Kodak theatre with drinks at 6 pm and dinner at 7 pm. Variety‘s Steve Chagollan has written a tribute piece called “Warren Beatty Perfected Art of Evasion,” and…oh, man, do I know the meaning of that!
I’ve been fencing on and off with Beatty for 15 or so years, and I’ve gotten next to nothing printable from the guy (98% of our chats have been OTR). And it’s been mostly okay because I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of the game that we play each and every time. And I love his flattery, which he throws at you from time to time. Not too much — he’s no glad-hander — but just enough to keep you sweet.
A couple of years ago at a party I reminded Beatty that our very first non-interview was in ’81, to which he replied, “Eighty-one? What were you, twelve years old?” I’ve never heard the words “how are ya?” spoken with more apparent feeling and sincerity than from he. There’s not a lot of different ways to massage those three words, but for whatever reason I’ve never forgotten his delivery. Knowing that it’s a bit that he’s practiced and perfected doesn’t matter, for some reason. Because he’s so good at it.