Cast members from the film “Rules Don’t Apply”, released in theaters Nov. 23, visited SCADshow to promote and discuss the movie.
Warren Beatty, Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich answered questions regarding the film in a roundtable discussion with college media outlets from the Atlanta area.
The film, which Beatty not only stars in, but also wrote, directed and produced, centers around the infamous Howard Hughes and several of his employees in 1950’s Hollywood. Beatty plays the infamous Hughes, while Collins stars as Marla Mabrey, a contract actress, and Ehrenreich plays Frank Forbes, a chauffeur.
The film has been a long-gestating project of Beatty’s, whose career in Hollywood has spanned over 50 years and includes notable films such as “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Dick Tracy”, and who said he has always been interested in making a Howard Hughes film.
“I’ve always been amused by him,” said Beatty. “I never met him, though I like to think I met everyone who ever did meet him.”
Beatty insisted that while Hughes is a central character in “Rules Don’t Apply,” the film is not a biopic and he admitted to taking creative liberty with both the history and character of Howard Hughes. Indeed, the film opens with a quote from the actual Howard Hughes to “never check an interesting fact.” Additionally, the budding romance between Hughes’ employees, Frank and Marla, add another layer to the film and prompt an exploration into themes of sexuality and religion.
Beatty said his own experience with religion is what prompted him into exploring the subject in the film.
“Growing up in Virginia as a Southern Baptist, which is the largest religious organization in the United States, I was seeing the hypocrisies involved and the main one was the necessity of guilt about making love,” said Beatty.
Combining religion, sexuality and Howard Hughes seemed right for Beatty as he felt Hughes, in his Hollywood life with wealth and women, “sort of represents that which Protestantism would like you to feel guilty about.”
The film also explored themes of identity and feminism through Collins character Marla, as she determines her own limits as an aspiring actress and a woman.
“She was on the brink of stepping out and speaking out as a young woman about what she was or wasn’t willing to do,” said Collins about her character.
Both Collins and Ehrenreich said they felt as though Marla’s character and storyline was relevant even in contemporary Hollywood.
“As you get more involved in any industry or career, you are being told more and more frequently the way things are done,” said Ehrenreich. “It becomes your responsibility to be diligent about continuing to hear your own voice in your head instead of the voices of other people.”
Collins agreed and expanded on the importance of the individual voice in Hollywood.
“I think it’s really important to acknowledge and be in conversation with that voice inside your own head, and take that voice and use it among other people,” said Collins.
The cast members all had warm words for each other, with Collins applauding Beatty for smoothly “wearing so many hats” as an actor, producer, writer and director for the film, while Beatty in turn, described both Collins and Ehrenreich as having “integrity, discipline, and intelligence.”
While Beatty has no films currently planned past “Rules Don’t Apply,” Collins and Ehrenreich are continuing with their next projects. For Collins, that involves a television series based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Last Tycoon” and for Ehrenreich, the role of a young Han Solo in upcoming Star Wars films.