Star: The Life and Wild Times of Warren Beatty
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In this compulsively readable and constantly surprising book, Peter Biskind, the author of the film classics Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and Down and Dirty Pictures, writes the most intimate, revealing, and balanced biography ever of Hollywood legend Warren Beatty.
Famously a playboy—he has been linked to costars Natalie Wood, Julie Christie, Diane Keaton, and Madonna, among others—Beatty has also been one of the most ambitious and successful stars in Hollywood. Several Beatty films have passed the test of time, from Bonnie and Clyde to Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait, Reds (for which he won the best director Oscar), Bugsy, and Bulworth. Few filmgoers realize that along with Orson Welles, Beatty is the only person ever nominated for four Academy Awards for a single film—and unlike Welles, Beatty did it twice, with Heaven Can Wait and Reds.
Biskind shows how Beatty used star power, commercial success, savvy, and charm to bend Hollywood moguls to his will, establishing an unprecedented level of independence while still working within the studio system. Arguably one of the most successful and creative figures in Hollywood over the last few decades, Beatty exercised unique control over his films, often hiring screenwriters out of his own pocket (and frequently collaborating with them), producing, directing, and acting, becoming an auteur before anyone in Hollywood knew what the word meant. In this fascinating biography, the ultimate Hollywood Star comes to life—complete with excesses and achievements—as never before.
say I was that sympathetic to. The first thing that Warren always wants to do is understand [the issues]. He puts you right to the fire. He would grill me upside and down for hours about my strategy, why it was gonna work, why this, why that, every painful inch of it. He did what he should do—he went in there with the idea of, ‘Prove it!’ Which I could do. But it was still a problem convincing Gary. Gary would immediately contradict me, and I would think, I don’t wanna be here! I was there
unfunnily) attached to her stuffed animals. Garry Shandling seems so uncomfortable in his own skin that he’s hard to watch. As the picture dashes madly along, the quirky quickly becomes the precious. The First Wives Club audience may have been turned off by adultery rampant and apparently unpunished, but the fact remains that a romantic comedy has to be affecting and funny, and this one is neither. Like its two unhappy predecessors, it smacks of self-regard, as if the pleasure of watching Beatty,
afraid it would go over and he’d be blamed for it, the way he was for Town & Country. (He was right about the production schedule, which did go way over.) Bill Bradley thinks it was too bloody for him, now that he had become a father. All this having been said, it’s foolish to count him out. As Dick Sylbert puts it, “He may still pull it off. Robert Rossen, when his back was against the wall—that’s when he did something interesting.” Beatty desperately wants to direct at least one more picture
She could not contain her antipathy for this type of ceremony.” The actor liked Christie for Bonnie and took her to lunch, but eventually decided that being English, she wouldn’t work. The next month, back in L.A. on April 18, 1966, Beatty co-presented an Oscar for production design. Wearing a shocking mini-skirt, Christie won Best Actress for Darling. He ran into her again, months later, at Pinewood Studios, where she was shooting Fahrenheit 451, and he was having lunch with Charlie Chaplin.
Pat Caddell, a volatile black Irish-American pollster he had recruited straight from Harvard. Caddell’s brain worked faster than his mouth, if that were possible; he spoke in machine-gun bursts, chopping off sentences in midcourse as new thoughts thrust their way to the forefront. He spritzed ideas and favored dramatic gestures. Newsweek called him “the permanent enfant terrible of the Democratic Party, a connoisseur and exploiter of voter anger, alienation and fear. He specializes in protest