With Martin Scorsese tackling the famed billionaire recluse in “The Aviator,” and Warren Beatty forever developing his own feature film about the man, perhaps it’s no surprise that a filmmaker as distinctive as Christopher Nolan has shelved his plans to make a movie about Howard Hughes. In the works for years, and at one point mooted as a project he would do after “The Dark Knight Rises,” it seems he’s poured some of the characteristics of Hughes into Bruce Wayne.
Flickering Myth recently chatted with editor Lee Smith who has worked with Nolan since “The Prestige,” and shared that indeed there is some DNA between ‘Rises’ and Nolan’s abandoned project. “There are a lot of similarities in that,” he said. “He did work on a script at the same time the one with Leonardo [DiCaprio] came out back in the day.” And the lines between the two are pretty easy to draw.
Hughes was an industrialist with his hands in many industries, just like Wayne, and later in his life he became a recluse, reportedly only cutting his nails and hair once a year. And while Wayne never quite tips into the same mania or drug addiction that plagued Hughes, when we meet him in a bathrobe, on crutches and looking disheveled at the beginning of “The Dark Knight Rises,” one can’t help but think we’re getting a glimpse of what Nolan’s Hughes might’ve looked like (Jim Carrey had been lined up for his proposed project).
So what’s next for Nolan? Even Smith isn’t quite sure, but it seems his collaborator is taking a breather. “When Chris says he is having a break that just means he is formulating something more complicated than we could ever think,” he said. And whatever it turns out to be, we certainly can’t wait.