The American Film Institute runs one of the most prized film festivals in the industry, seen as a place where veteran and emerging filmmakers can showcase their work side by side. The festival begins Nov. 10, with the world premier of Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply, a romantic comedy-drama set in 1950s Hollywood, depicting two lovers forbidden to see each by their boss, the eccentric Howard Hughes.
Beatty has been reportedly working on the movie for 40 years, inspired by seeing Hughes in a hotel lobby in the 1970s. The writer/actor/director’s first appearance since 2001’s Town and Country features an ensemble cast that includes Lily Collins, Alec Baldwin, Annette Bening, Matthew Broderick and more. The official synopsis for the film reads:
“It’s Hollywood, 1958. Small town beauty queen and devout Baptist virgin Marla Mabrey (Collins), under contract to the infamous Howard Hughes (Beatty), arrives in Los Angeles. At the airport, she meets her driver Frank Forbes (Ehrenreich), who is engaged to be married to his 7th grade sweetheart and is a deeply religious Methodist. Their instant attraction not only puts their religious convictions to the test, but also defies Hughes’ number one rule: no employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress. Hughes’ behavior intersects with Marla and Frank in very separate and unexpected ways, and as they are drawn deeper into his bizarre world, their values are challenged and their lives are changed.”
AFI Fest will also recognize three influential women in film: Dorothy Dandridge, Ida Lupino and Anna May Wong. Dandridge was the first black woman to receive best actress at the Academy Awards, winning for her performance in Carmen Jones, which will be screened in her honor. Lupino was a pioneering director who was the first woman to make film noir, in addition to working on 67 films and more than 100 television episodes, including the original Twilight Show, in which she also starred. Anna May Wong has the distinction of being the first Chinese-American actress to gain international success.
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