Howard Hughes, the billionaire industrialist and sometimes film producer, was aged 70 when he died in 1976, an emaciated recluse and one of the richest men in the world. Fittingly, Warren Beatty, the famous actor and sometimes film director who has long wanted to make a film about Hughes, is now aged 74, and after decades of plotting and preparation, his project is finally underway. Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator focused on Hughes’ early years in Hollywood and his initial business battles, but Beatty will direct himself as the elderly figure of fascination. The supporting cast for the untitled film includes Beatty’s wife, Annette Bening (The Grifters, The Kids Are All Right), Felicity Jones (Like Crazy, The Other Woman) and Matthew Broderick (Election, The Freshman). For those who don’t have strong memories of the 20th century, Beatty hasn’t acted in a feature since the 2001 bomb Town and Country, or directed one since his eccentric 1998 comedy Bulworth.
Tran for Eternity
Vietnamese filmmaker Tran Anh Hung, whose last picture was 2010’s Haruki Murakami adaptation Norwegian Wood, is at work on a French-language production. Eternity, prepared by Tran from a novel by Alice Ferney, is the story of three mothers and the struggles they must endure. The director, who offered a new vision of his homeland with his early films, 1993’s The Scent of Green Papaya and 1995’s Cyclo, has an impressive cast for the leading trio: Audrey Tautou (Amelie, Mood Indigo), Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds, Beginners) and Berenice Bejo (The Artist, The Past) will top the credits.
Silent star gets due
The Hollywood biopics continue with one that reaches back to the era when Los Angeles still had orange groves. The First will tell the story of Mary Pickford, the Canadian-born silent era superstar whose famous curls and knack for playing young became a trademark that she eventually leveraged into her own studio, United Artists, alongside co-founders D.W. Griffiths, Charlie Chaplin and her second husband, Douglas Fairbanks. Lily Rabe (No Reservations, What Just Happened) will play Pickford for director Jennifer DeLia (Billy Bates), with the supporting cast to include Julia Stiles (The Bourne Supremacy, Silver Linings Playbook) and Michael Pitt (The Dreamers, Seven Psychopaths).
Hardy goes Kray Kray
Tom Hardy’s forceful ways have given him signature roles in Bronson and The Dark Knight Rises, and it now looks like it will result in him resurrecting an iconic pair of British characters. London gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray, who were a menacing part of swinging London in the 1960s before spending their final decades in jail, have inspired everything from a Monty Python sketch to the 1990 Peter Medak film, The Krays, where they were played by former members of Spandau Ballet. With writer (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) and director (A Knight’s Tale, 42) Brian Helgeland in charge, Hardy looks like he will play dual roles, with Reggie the less volatile of the two, if only because Ronnie reportedly suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Helgeland’s movie should provide quite the contrast with another period biopic Hardy is starring in: Rocket Man, the story of Elton John.