Go Pro: The Great Warren Beatty

The mighty Warren Beatty’s off-screen persona as a ladies-man has arguably made him more famous than his movies. However, Beatty uses this as a way of twisting audience expectations, delivering films with a strong emotional (and political) resonance.
Beatty is not only one of Hollywood’s great movie stars, but he’s also an Academy Award winning director, writer and producer.

‘The Pro’ has many great movies under his belt and even his lesser efforts (like Mike Nichols’ The Fortune co-starring Jack Nicholson) are worth checking out. Having said that, as time has gone on, Beatty has become less and less prolific.

What are the top Warren Beatty moments?

All of them really, but Reds, Bonnie and Clyde, Shampoo, Bulworth, Dick Tracy, The Parallax View and Heaven Can Wait and Bugsy should be top of the list, in any order you can get them.

Beatty has played the Hollywood game on his own terms since Bonnie and Clyde in 1967, using his clout to make moves he way that wanted to make them. These may not always have been successful, but they’ve all been interesting.

Elaine May’s 1987 film, Ishtar is infamous for being one of Hollywood’s great financial disasters. Originally budgeted at $27.5 million, Ishtar’s  budget ballooned to $55 million – almost unheard of at the time. It grossed under $15 million at the US box office. 

A Columbia Pictures release, much of the film was shot in Morocco because Columbia’s owner, CocaCola had money trapped in the country. The film became a quagmire of arguments and a tangle of creative decisions. 

Town And Country is a film which was made under extreme circumstances (it was a very troubled production) and it cost a whopping $90 million – which is crazy money for a romantic comedy. When it was finally released, it bombed at the box office – grossing just $10 million globally and the critics gave it a major kicking. It’s actually an enjoyable movie, but Beatty retreated and it him 15 years to make another film. .

Beatty’s last film was 2016’s Rules Don’t Apply, a project which he developed for around 40 years.  He wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film about billionaire Howard Hughes but the $25 million film failed to connect with audiences, grossing just $3.8 million worldwide. 

It’s highly likely the 89th Academy Awards in 2017 wouldn’t have been particularly memorable it hadn’t been for the major mix-up with the climatic announcement for Best Picture. However, somehow the folks from Pricewaterhouse Coopers slipped Bonnie And Clyde stars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway a duplicate of Emma Stone’s Best Actress envelope. This obviously confused Beatty, who was apprehensive about reading out the winner. He showed it to Dunaway – who thought Beatty was building tension – and she read out the name of the movie written on the card: La La Land. Except the real Best Picture winner was Moonlight.

The La La Land gang stormed the stage and started giving speeches before PWC and the Academy attempted to remedy the cock-up. This is when the obviously pissed-off La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz snatched the now correct envelope from Warren Beatty’s hand like an ill-mannered schoolboy grabbing an exam paper from his teacher’s grasp. 

We may never see Warren Beatty back on the big screen again, but the man has left a mighty cinematic legacy.