As seemingly assembled under everyone’s noses, Deadline tell us Warren Beatty has both cast and begun rolling cameras on his long-developing, still-untitled Howard Hughes project, thanks to major financial support from New Regency (backing through a deal with Fox), Brett Ratner‘s RatPac Entertainment, Windsor Media, Steve Bing, and Ron Burkle. You think rich guys in Hollywood barely do any good nowadays? Take this as a big exception to the unfortunate rule.

Beatty got underway with first shooting (outside seemingly preliminary business) commenced yesterday; Lily Collins is to portray the woman with whom Hughes shared a relationship during his later years — this is a role that was reported to be Felicity Jones‘ more than two years back — while Alden Ehrenreich is her more stable love interest, himself an assistant to the legendary film producer and aviator. Word has it that (surprise!) the writer-director’s wife, Annette Bening, will take a lead role, while Matthew Broderick is also involved in bringing about what’s deemed “a really nice ensemble piece.” Along the lines of a notice, from two weeks back, that he’d possibly decided to “create his own character rather than deal with Hughes’s biographical baggage,” this latest update says his project will provide less of a “lens” (à la The Aviator), being “not Hughes-centric” but, rather, a focus on the assistant character.

Which is just fine: both because the man’s life / eccentricities have been covered enough in prior work and, no less, as it may prove a fine spotlight for Ehrenreich, who’s impressed in Coppola two most-recent features (Tetro and Twixt), as well as, in a more-widely-seen capacity, Park Chan-wook‘s Stoker. The lead in a new Warren Beatty film — which, I like to think, can itself still generate some publicity — should be of no small benefit. All we can ask, now, is to see the project before very long.

Are you glad to see Beatty’s project take off? Any thoughts on the first casting announcement?

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