Warren Beatty, Hollywood legend and famed boulevardier, starred in or directed and wrote the movies Splendor in the Grass, Bonnie and Clyde, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Shampoo, Bulworth, and Reds, to name a few, so now that he has his first film in many years, the long awaited Rules Rules Don't Apply, it is fitting that the Museum of the Moving Image Image honor him. From this great night of speeches and clips this week, an observation beyond Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" was evident: eccentric, beyond the pale, this man is much beloved.
Guests included Elaine May, Jeanne Berlin, Barry Diller, Mandy Patinkin, Lee Grant, Robert Benton, Barry Levinson, James Toback, Oliver Platt, and Michael Barker, some legendary figures themselves; many provided a piece of movie history in their accolades. Matthew Broderick with Sarah Jessica Parker, and Haley Bennett attended too. Paul Sorvino said he makes actors feel free and beautifully guided. The Rules Don't Apply stars Alden Ehrenreich and Lily Collins brought the rapt crowd up to date with Beatty stories, such as how he auditions actors for his films -in long buddy fests of non-stop conversation, mostly his.
Robert Benton talked about how Bonnie and Clyde got made. (Beatty thought Bob Dylan would make a great Clyde Barrow.) Mandy Patinkin talked about Beatty's yearning for family; he and his wife Kathryn Grody met him when his girlfriend was Diane Keaton, and stayed friends when he married Annette Bening. Clips of the iconic films show Beatty, dreamy in his long shag, as George the hairdresser in Shampoo, a philanderer with no apologies, and Beatty is hilariously prescient running up to our election as his Bulworth character, a senator, acts out in full boorish tantrum. Annette Bening, who starred with him in Bugsy, told everyone how she fell in love with him. "I like it," he said of the praise, by the time he took to the stage. Yes, his ego is legendary too, but he's a man who knows he's got "IT."
It is not hard to see why he's always had the ladies man reputation. Warren Beatty's old school charm is striking in a world that lacks politesse. As a small group gathered to cross Park Avenue heading for The Regency's lobby bar to watch the World Series' exciting end, Beatty stopped short to help a reporter on with her jacket, and then, looking deep into her eyes, fluffed her hair just so, framing her mane over the collar. Yes, at 79, he still has "IT."
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.