With Rules Don’t Apply, multi-hyphenate Warren Beatty has directed his first film since 1998’s Bulworth and acts on the big screen for the first time since 2001’s Town & Country.
Rules Don’t Apply stars Warren Beatty, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich, Annette Bening, Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, Haley Bennett, Candice Bergen, Dabney Coleman, Steve Coogan, Ed Harris, Taissa Farmiga, Megan Hilty, Oliver Platt and Martin Sheen.
Set in 1958, the same year that Beatty arrived on the Hollywood scene, Marla Mabrey (Collins) arrives to Hollywood to work under contract for the eccentric Howard Hughes (Beatty). It is while arriving at the airport in which Mabrey meets her driver Frank Forbes (Ehrenreich). She’s a religious Baptist and he’s a religious Methodist, who is engaged to his 7th grade girlfriend. The two are drawn to each other, which violates Hughes’ major rule of no relationships between employees and any actors working under contract. There’s no denying that Frank and Marla are in love with each other. During this time of sexual repression, they had to hide their relationship, lest they be fired by Hughes.
Hughes finds a way to get involved with both of their lives, whether it’s a romantic relationship with Mabrey or serving as somewhat of a mentor to Forbes. Hughes was known for his money, movies, for his eccentricity, and his flying. We are treated to a window into the life of Howard Hughes and how he challenged the movie industry.
Rules Don’t Apply takes place during a different era of making motion pictures. Movies were made to reflect the 1950s conservative values and would soon be made to reflect the changing era of the 1960s with the sexual and social revolutions. Actors were working under contract as the Studio System was what it was at the time. For Beatty, this is a film that reflects his upbringing and arriving to Hollywood at a time in which things were changing.
“I didn’t write a biopic of Howard Hughes at all,” Beatty says of the film. “This is more a love story of two young people in 1958 who happen to be working for Hughes — a love story that explores the sometimes comical and sometimes sad consequences of American puritanism in the late 50s and early 60s when I first came to Hollywood.”
Distributed by 20th Century Fox, Rules Don’t Apply opened in theaters on November 23, 2016.