Warren Beatty Playing Howard Hughes

Directing himself in a comedy?

News has been gradually emerging about a new Warren Beatty project all this week. The initial word on the street was of an "untitled comedy", but it's since been revealed that the film, written and to be directed by and star Beatty, is about Howard Hughes.

This doesn't appear to be a traditional biopic though: understandably since we've already had that to to great effect in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator. Rather, Beatty's project focuses on a single event in the reclusive tycoon's life: an affair he had with a younger woman in his later years (presumably not the later years where he was holed up in a Vegas penthouse watching Ice Station Zebra on a loop).

This will be the first time Beatty has directed since Bulworth in 1998, and his first acting role since 2001's Town and Country. A big deal then, and Deadline report that Beatty is taking meetings all over Hollywood to fill up his cast, dropping names like Andrew Garfield, Shia La Beouf, Jack Nicholson, Evan Rachel Wood, Rooney Mara, and Alec Baldwin, who played Hughes' arch enemy Juan Trippe in the Scorsese film. Annete Bening is also on the list, and may be in a with a decent shot at a role in Beatty's film, given that she's married to him.

The film is set up at Paramount, where Beatty made Reds and Heaven Can Wait, to the tune of 21 Oscar nominations. Studio chairman and CEO Brad Grey is producing, and says "Warren’s script is quintessential Beatty, elegantly written and wonderfully entertaining. It is our privilege to have one of the great artists in the history of the film industry come home to Paramount."

Shooting is expected to start in the autumn.