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Warren Beatty Has Finished His Howard Hughes Movie Backed by Arnon Milchan

Warren Beatty Has Finished His Howard Hughes Movie Backed by Arnon Milchan

Warren Beatty doesn’t show up somewhere for no reason. The  director-star jetted with Arnon Milchan to Las Vegas to present him with the CinemaCon Legend of Cinema award, where he thanked the New Regency chief, who has backed 133 films since “Once Upon a Time in America,” earning 68 Oscar nominations along the way. Milchan backed Beatty’s long-in-the-works Howard Hughes biopic, which is finally finished, Beatty told me. The movie starring Beatty in the title role with Lily Collins as his younger romantic interest won’t be ready for Cannes, but it might hit the fall festivals, Fox and New Regency execs confirmed.

“I’ve been thinking about making a movie for a long time,” said Beatty of the Howard Hughes film, thanking “Medici” Milchan for sticking by him. “He brings the art of risk-taking to a whole new stratosphere.” Milchan said that for his part Beatty isn’t done with filmmaking, and wants to make sequels to “Shampoo” and “Dick Tracy.”

Beatty regaled Wednesday’s CinemaCon lunch with the story of how he first met the Israeli producer, before he had made any movies, when he was considering buying Twentieth Century Fox and installing Beatty as its head. So Beatty took Milchan out for a night on the town with Jack Nicholson, never believing that he would make a movie. But he did: “The Revenant,” “The Big Short,” “Birdman” and “12 Years a Slave” all won Oscars, three years in a row. Add “Pretty Woman,” “Unfaithful,” “The King of Comedy,” “Brazil,” “Heat,” “L.A. Confidential,” and “Gone Girl” to his long list of great films.   

“The Revenant” Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio sent along his own iPhone selfie video thanking Milchan, and his Oscar-winning director AG Inarritu called Milchan the “last of the Mohicans” and said that “Once Upon a Time in America” is his favorite film. When he made it, Milchan said, he didn’t know you could go to studios to help finance, so he carried cash around and staked his fortune on the movie, which finished up at three hours and 47 minutes. (The fights over its various edited versions are legendary.) 
When Milchan was told that Inarritu had run out of money on “The Revenant,” he compared it to Picasso running out of paint. He found him some more. When he first screened “The Revenant,” said his lieutenant Brad Weston on a panel about the movie with producer Mary Parent and actor Will Poulter, Milchan said he wasn’t worried and predicted that the film would make more than $450 million globally. It’s at $518 million.

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