Warren Beatty’s Long-Awaited Howard Hughes Project Finally Gets its Wings

By  · Published on February 25th, 2014

It’s hard to imagine, but it’s been thirteen years since screen legend Warren Beatty has starred in a film, the last time being in 2001’s Town & Country. Even longer than Beatty’s absence from the silver screen is his desire to get a project off the ground centered around famed reclused aviator Howard Hughes. After 20 years of negotiating, Beatty’s got the financing and the rest of cast on board to go forward with filming his untitled pet project, in which he’ll direct and star as Hughes and be supported by a talented cast.

The film isn’t a biopic of the iconic pilot – those duties go to 2004’s The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio – but rather a story about Hughes’ loyal (and likely long-suffering) assistant and the assistant’s love interest, played by Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures) and Lily Collins (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), respectively. Though details about the film are sparse beyond that tidbit, previous reports stated that Collins’ character would actually turn her attention away from her assistant beau and fall for Hughes himself; it’s not clear if that’s the case anymore, but it’s certainly an interesting pairing if there ever was one.

Beatty’s wife, the fabulous Annette Bening, will also join the cast along with Matthew Broderick and a host of “surprise guests”; the rumor being that Beatty’s longtime pal Jack Nicholson will pop out of his self-declared retirement to do his buddy a solid. Some of the film has actually already been shot, but full-on production kicks off today. Insert bad puns about production “taking flight” here.

There’s no release date mentioned for the film, but it seems like since Beatty took his good time getting the project together just as he wanted it, he probably won’t be in any hurry to get it out to the theaters either. It’s been a good long while since the talented director and actor had any kind of project out, so it’s welcome news that something that he’s clearly passionate about is finally coming together. While Beatty’s Hughes film isn’t technically about Hughes – it’s kind of Hughes-adjacent – the man he’s portraying was an eccentric billionaire inventor who devoted his life to aerospace research and aviation, then spiraled headfirst into germaphobia and reclusiveness later in life.

Now, is it going to be well-to-do aviation expert Hughes that we’ll be seeing when this finally comes together, or paranoid old hermit Hughes? Welcome back, Beatty.