At today’s CinemaCon Filmmaker lunch program honoring New Regency head Arnon Milchan with the Legend off Cinema award, 20th Century Fox and New Regency also made news. The companies revealed that they will be releasing this fall Warren Beatty’s long-gestating, officially untitled movie dealing with Howard Hughes that co-stars Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich. Beatty wrote, directed and co-stars in it.
In introducing presenter Beatty, Fox distribution president Chris Aronson said: “I am extremely happy to report that he’s joining forces with New Regency and 20th Century Fox on a new film that will be coming soon to your theaters.” New Regency’s Brad Weston confirmed they are putting a plan in place for a fall release and said it should be set in about three weeks. The movie does have a title, but it has yet to be announced. It will be Beatty’s first film since Town & Country was released in 2001; Fox previously had released Beatty’s acclaimed 1998 film, Bulworth.
In his charming remarks introducing Milchan, Beatty noted the producer had stuck with him all the way on this project. “I’ve been thinking about making a movie for a long time that most people thought I would never get around to making. Arnon Milchan has been there since the beginning. He’s always encouraging, always enthusiastic, always supportive and that has been very meaningful,” Beatty said. In his intro, Beatty recalled when he first met Milchan in the late 1970s when he got a call from this man whom he had never met asking if Beatty would be interested in running 20th Century Fox if Milchan purchased the studio. Beatty was skeptical and thought it might be more likely that he would run for president of Cuba than Fox, but he liked him. “I thought maybe the kind thing to do would be to let him down easy on the possibility of getting involved in the movie business and try to divert the attention to something more in the area of what I would have to call aspects of Hollywood nightlife in the 1970s,” he said, while adding it never ocurred to him that Milchan would actually make a movie.
As he noted ,now 133 films later including 12 Years A Slave and Birdman — which both won the Best Picture Oscar back to back for 2013 and 2014 — in addition to this year’s multiple Oscar winning The Revenant (the subject of a panel during the lunch about its production), it’s clear Beatty was wrong.
“He’s consistently respectful of the filmmaker and he brings the art of risk-taking to a whole new stratosphere. I am delighted to join this celebration of a true innovator spanning over a period of 30 years of visionary moviemaking. As a captain of industry Arnon has put together a spectacular body of work in film and has become a medici of the movies,” Beatty said as he brought Milchan to the stage in Caesars Palace’s huge Octavius ballroom.
“This is weird because on one hand it is very humbling,” Milchan said. “On the other hand it betrays my age.” He mentioned all the stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio (who paid tribute via tape), Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly who were mere teenagers when he first made a movie with them. His films range from Once Upon A Time In America to Pretty Woman to The Big Short and so many too numerous to mention. Milchan truly is the among the last of a breed of true, from-the-gut movie producers and his output of quality films attests to that, although he says he can’t blow things up on screen, preferring to make films that make you feel something. In other words, movies about human beings.
“My special effects are emotions,” he said. What a concept.
“133 movies you say. But there are more to come. Soon it will be 150,” he said. “I guess I am supposed to know everything, but I know nothing,” he said, adding he believes in the passion of visionaries like Alejandro G. Inarritu with whom he made Birdman and Revenant. The director was also seen congratulating Milchan on tape saying he never flinched during the making of the latter epic. Milchan said he did indeed “flinch” a lot, but usually alone in the bathroom, never in front of the filmmaker. “You don’t think like a businessman — you just go with your heart and guts, ” he said, comparing to the many millions needed when the film went wildly over budget to Picasso asking for more paint to finish his masterpiece.
He also praised Beatty, saying that the star and director wants to do more movies with him. “He talks to me about two or three other movies he wants to do like the sequel to Shampoo and Dick Tracy. Suddenly he’s in the sequel business, ” he laughed.
Milchan lavishly praised Fox marketing and distribution teams as well as chairman Jim Gianopulos who was in the audience. He even brought Aronson back up onstage and tried to give him half of his award for all the work he has done on his films. Aronson, clearly blown away by it, deflected the attention right back to Milchan, who is truly a class act.