Who's afraid of Warren Beatty? Based on the reaction to today's news that the 74-year-old has agreed to write, direct and star in an untitled new romantic comedy for Paramount (his first on-camera appearance since 2001's Town & Country, and the first movie he's directed since Bulworth in 1998), the answer seems to be, everyone. Considering the actor's past history of creating behind-the-scenes agitation, this is not an unreasonable response. Here's a quick perusal of the legendary actor's career history.
He has a history of alienating writers
This seemed to be the most common complaint voiced by Beatty's collaborators in Star, former Premiere magazine editor Peter Biskind's exhaustive 2010 biography of the actor. "Warren is an underachiever," said screenwriter Bo Goldman, who maintains he should have been the credited writer on Beatty's Dick Tracy. (He was listed as a "special consultant" instead.) "He could have made five more wonderful movies, he could have been governor, he could have done everything, but his ego gets in the way." Robert Towne (who, according to Biskind, Beatty "induced" to work on the script for The Parallax View during the 1973 Writer's Guild strike) groused so much about Beatty being credited as co-screenwriter on Shampoo two years later that mutual friend David Geffen tried to talk Beatty out of taking the credit. (It didn't work.) In 1998, longtime friend James Toback, who Beatty had commissioned to write an early draft of Bulworth, told Variety editor Peter Bart, "When I saw the final shooting script, there was a lot of my stuff in there." Beatty and Jeremy Pikser were the credited writers and shared a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.