Richard and CP24 anchor George Lagogianes have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the new Brad Pitt wartime thriller “Allied,” the new kick-ass Disney princess in “Moana,” the Oscar hopeful “Manchester by the Sea” and the Warren Beatty rom com “Rules Don’t Apply.”
Richard sits in with Erin Paul to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, the new Brad Pitt wartime thriller “Allied,” the new kick-ass Disney princess in “Moana,” the Oscar hopeful “Manchester by the Sea” and the Warren Beatty rom com “Rules Don’t Apply.”
To hear Hollywood legendary Warren Beatty tell it, casting Lily Collins as the lead of his latest film happened in a blink.
The movie is Rules Don’t Apply, a nostalgic look at an aspiring actress, her limo driver boyfriend and Howard Hughes, the eccentric billionaire they both work for. There were no formal auditions for the film, just Beatty’s gut instinct and “the blink.”
“I believe very much in what I call the blink,” says Beatty. “That is the superiority of the unconscious knowledge as compared to conscious knowledge. The knowledge that when we sit and we really give it some thought, the thought we feel it is due. That thought can be misleading when we could have trusted our initial instinct, the blink. I think the unconscious has a lot more intelligence in it than the conscious.
“It was a blink with Lily. I can only say I loved the way she looked. I loved the way she sounded. I loved the way she talked. There was an integrity about her I felt I could believe in this circumstance and at the same time she looked like someone to me who Hollywood would want to exploit.”
Collins plays Marla Mabrey, wannabe movie star and “devout Baptist beauty queen from Virginia.” On the surface the twenty-seven-year-old doesn’t have a great deal in common with her on-screen character but the actress says she understood Marla immediately.
“I could relate to it,” she says. “Starting out acting in Hollywood, very wide eyed, innocent, naïve. Wanting to please everyone. Having my mom there with me. Marla was very adamant and passionate, determined and steadfast. All these things I think I was when I started.”
The actress, who has three movies lined up for next year including Okja with Jake Gyllenhaal and To the Bone with Keanu Reeves, calls working with Beatty a master class in acting. She even kept a journal on set. “I have all these tidbits of information. Things I witnessed that I can now draw on. I would have been a fool not to.”
In particular Beatty taught the star how to think differently about breaking down a script.
“Whenever we would do a scene he kept saying, ‘What are you doing? What is your action? What is your intention?’ At the beginning I read the script as someone who had never broken it down in the way he had, and I’d be like, ‘Right now she’s really emotional. She’s sad. She misses her mom.’ He’d say, ‘Show me what that looks like.’ I can’t because that is an adjective. ‘OK, put it into words. Put it into a verb.’ As soon as I started breaking down a scene based on verbs, it didn’t matter if I cried when it said ‘Marla cries,” because as long as my intention was the same as what her intention was, whatever naturally occurred, occurred. Nothing was fake. Nothing was put on. I think audiences are smart, they can tell. If something seems fake or put on they will not associate with it.
“I soaked in everything,” she says. “Even when I was tired I subconsciously I soaked in everything because I thought, ‘It’s a joy and an honour to be in this situation.’ He could have just picked someone else so I need to take in everything I can.”
“Rules Don’t Apply” star and director Warren Beatty wants you to know that his latest film is not a biopic of Howard Hughes. The legendary Hollywood figure—Beatty not Hughes, although the term could ply to either—has long wanted to make a movie about the reclusive billionaire but this isn’t it. Instead it is a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of 1950s Tinsel Town in which Hughes is not the star, just the most interesting character.
Lily Collins plays Marla Mabrey, a Southern Baptist girl with dreams of being a Hollywood star. A contract with Hughes’ RKO Pictures got her halfway there, now she needs to meet Hughes (Beatty) and get a part. Until then Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich), a personal chauffeur assigned by RKO escorts her around town to make sure she stays out of trouble. “If you don’t drive them, you can’t keep your eye on them.”
Romance soon blooms, leaving the two in a perilous spot as both their contract stipulate that they won’t become involved with members of the extended Hughes corporate family.
Meanwhile Hughes remains an elusive, shadowy figure in Marla’s life. The eccentric businessman is juggling dozens of starlets, who he has stashed all over town, some bankers with $400 million in ready cash and a hostile takeover by his business partners. Hughes’s antics and obsessions with everything from the Spruce Goose to Baskin-Robbins’ banana-nut ice cream, keep the young lovers separated but will the oddball’s behaviour change their lives?
“Rules Don’t Apply” isn’t a biopic—the movie telegraphs this with an opening quote from Hughes: “Never check an interesting fact”—or a farce or, strictly a romantic comedy. For better and for worse it is its own thing, a nostalgic Warren Beatty film that basks in the glow of old Hollywood courtesy of DP Caleb Deschanel and terrific costume and set design. As a look back to what Los Angeles was like when Beatty first hit town it’s an engaging slice of ephemera. Unfortunately, the story and the characters are slightly less engaging.
Collins and Ehrenreich are charismatic, interesting actors who make the most of the moments offered them. Trouble is, the film too often shifts focus. Is it the story of Marla’s ambition, of Frank’s potential get rich quick scheme, or Hughes’s foibles? It’s all that and feels cluttered, as though not all the moving parts are necessary to keep the movie’s engine in gear. It never quite works up the head of steam it needs to commit fully to its farce DNA, but when it works it works very well.
In front of the camera Beatty shines as Hughes, reminding us why he became a movie star in the first place. Confident and bold this is a much different Hughes than we saw in “The Aviator.” Beatty’s take on the character is a broad, often comedic, occasionally tragic look at a man trying to stop both his personal and professional life from unravelling.
Behind the camera Beatty gives us moments to savour. When Marla’s mom (Annette Bening) announces they must leave Hollywood, her daughter hugs her and sweetly says, “I’ll help you pack.” It’s a sly bit of character work, simply staged that tells us that Marla has the strength to cut her mother loose in pursuit of her dream.
“Rules Don’t Apply” is a handsome movie that lives up to its name. The strict rules of romantic comedy, drama and biography don’t apply here. It’s a wistful confection, sometimes frothy, sometimes idiosyncratic, that feels like it might have sprung from the era it portrays.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. It’s a magical day around here. Not only do the cast of the Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them drop by–including Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne–then we have a Warren Beatty sighting. As fans know Beatty sightings are as rare(and precious)as Bismuth Crystals. He and Rules Don’t Apply star Lily Collins swing by to talk about the movie and the film’s unusual production. Abracadabra! C’mon in and sit a spell… we’re pulling rabbits out of hats today!