Chris Nolan Wants to Direct a Howard Hughes Biopic After 'TDKR'?

February 11, 2011
Source: Vulture

Christopher Nolan / Howard Hughes

More unexpected news today. Vulture, who often has trustworthy scoops, is reporting that Christopher Nolan is already talking about lining up a project following The Dark Knight Rises. As if anyone wants to know (kidding), Nolan is apparently looking at directing another Howard Hughes biopic, following The Aviator of '04. However, this will focus more "on the freakier decades of Hughes remarkably secretive and OCD-addled life" than the earlier piece we saw. This is the first we've heard about it so take it as a rumor for now, but I'll be damned if it isn't an intriguing concept. Nolan doing Hughes? Brilliance in the making.

Vulture seems to have a lot of info on this prospective project, saying that "Nolan wants to shoot his Hughes movie late in 2012, then release it in 2014 — by which time 10 years will have elapsed since Scorsese's Aviator, a span Nolan seems to think sufficient enough for it not to invite immediate comparison." You see, Nolan has been developing this since before Aviator and dropped it when Scorsese beat them to it, but now he's back (because he can pretty much do whatever he wants nowadays). Nolan will apparently be working from Michael Drosnin's book Citizen Hughes: The Power, the Money and the Madness, first published in 1985. Here's how Vulture describes the Howard Hughes we'll see (it's too good to not put in its entirety):

"We'll meet the Howard Hughes who spent much of 1948 sitting naked in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel with only a pink dinner napkin covering his genitals as he screened movies from his studio, RKO Pictures, and ran up an $11 million tab; the Hughes who — obsessed with food safety — once bought every franchise restaurant chain in his home state of Texas, and who was similarly so concerned about air quality that he installed an aircraft filtration system in his 1954 Chrysler New Yorker, taking up its entire trunk; the Howard Hughes who had his hair cut and nails trimmed only once a year, and who was seemingly as addicted to Baskin Robbins Banana Ripple ice cream as he was to regular codeine injections; the Hughes who at the end of his life considered only Mormons trustworthy enough to be let into his inner circle."

And we're letting Christopher Nolan adapt this madness into something brilliant? I'm in. There's not much more they, or we, know about this besides that broad setup of the later Howard Hughes story, but this is an intriguing concept, mostly because I've been wondering where Nolan would head next after mesmerizing us with his multi-layered dream world last year and (most likely) blowing our minds again in one final Batman showdown come 2012. Will he really be stepping back and going for a biopic about a crazed mastermind? Only time will tell. Obviously if anyone asks him, he's going to stick with business and say he's barely started worked on TDKR, but it sounds like there's a plan being put into place for him to follow that up with a little Howard Hughes. And it could be amazing. What do you think? Good topic for Nolan to tackle next?

One of our friends on twitter just pointed out an interesting Nolan quote from IMDB: "Following Insomnia, his next project was going to be a Howard Hughes biopic starring Jim Carrey. Nolan had the screenplay written (calling it 'one of the best things I've ever written')" but he never made it thanks to The Aviator. It definitely looks like this exists, it's just a matter of if Nolan really is planning to do this next after TDKR.

Find more posts: Development, Movie News, Rumors



I wonder if he'll cast DiCaprio again? If not who? I for one would love to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the role.

Anonymous on Feb 11, 2011


Johnny Depp will make a nice Howard Hughes Other than that, John Waters anybody?

Gunther23 on Feb 11, 2011


Waters? That's wacky, but actually a good idea... I like Gordon-Levitt, too.

Alex Billington on Feb 11, 2011


Steve Buscemi

Gunther23 on Feb 11, 2011


Nolan can't fail! Well, he didn't so far... I'll watch everything he does. But I have to say that I'm not that happy with another aviator movie. The one from 2004 was great. I don't know, maybe we'll see something like Let Me In (although it's not a remake)? Let's have something confirmed and then we'll see.

Anonymous on Feb 11, 2011


The Aviator was terrible, DiCaprio was to short and looked nothing like Mr. Hughes! If Mr. Nolan does make a biopic lets hope there's more on his engineering feats and his womanizing with Hollywood Starlets, especially Jane Mansfield! Instead of his relationship with Catherine Hepburn. He needs to get an actor who's good looking, the Clark Gable type, I always thought Mr. Hughes should be played by someone with Gabel's looks since Hughes has a similar look.

John on Feb 11, 2011


WOW... really? The Aviator was terrible? I can point out a million people who would disagree. One of them would be me. Let's stop speaking in absolutes and start giving opinions.

Marc Walker on Feb 12, 2011


John is most likely a Twilight fan

Bob on Feb 12, 2011



Anonymous on Feb 12, 2011


It's Katharine not Catherine.

Caitie Green on Feb 14, 2011


OMG! thanks for the mention Alex!

Tyler Keen on Feb 11, 2011


Np! Thanks for the info tip. 🙂

Alex Billington on Feb 11, 2011


I'm unsure how I feel about this -- I consider The Avatar one of the top ten films made in the past 25 years; a remake could only bring upon shame, right? But, this is Nolan we're talking about here and I recall that tinge of anger I felt when I first read the IMDB entry about his thwarted plans. Until I hear further casting, I shall head no feelings about this project.

crumb on Feb 11, 2011


Remake? I guess you should read the article.

Bob on Feb 12, 2011


Bob? I guess you should go get your self fucked, because my interpretation of the word remake was in the context of 'they're (re) making a movie out of one guys life.' (the (re) is in there because they've done it before.) I understand calling what Nolan's HH flick would end up being a remake of Scorsese's would be like calling Nolan's batman a Remake of Burtin's Batman - I'm not retarded, just a little worried.

crumb on Feb 12, 2011


bob is right....its not a remake. yes its about the same guy, but that doesnt make it a remake, just a different adaptation of his life. Theres like 3 marilyn monroe biopics in the works, are they all remakes of eachother?

anthony on Feb 12, 2011


You realize you wrote Avatar and not aviator RIGHT?

D Avidas7 on Feb 12, 2011


WHAT?! Chris Nolan is remaking AVATAR?! wow, now that's a rumor worth spreading crumb.... 😛

Anonymous on Feb 12, 2011


I'd actually watch Avatar if Nolan was the director... James Cameron = Michael Bay at this point in his directing career.

Sureshot604 on Feb 13, 2011


im in!

ozziememz on Feb 11, 2011


I for one don't like this. I was so happy when Nolan made Inception last year. It was his first original film since Memento. I like all of his films but after seeing Inception I'd be happy waiting for another original film.

Lost Son on Feb 12, 2011


I hope this is true, he says its the best thing he's ever written, I don't care what it is I want to see it. Plus it makes sense that he would do something like this. After TDK, Inception, and TDKR he needs a "quieter" project. Plus this is the kind of movie that might get him his first Oscar.

Anonymous on Feb 12, 2011


no doubt itll be amazing

A5J4DX on Nov 13, 2018


no doubt itll be amazing

A5J4DX on Nov 13, 2018


Jim Carrey as Hughes? Could be interesting. Jim needs a hit after all those horrible "comedies" in recent years, and he can do serious. SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSMOKIN'!

Number Six on Feb 13, 2011


Remake, REMAKE! Get a grip. This has nothing to do with Scorsese's film. Your not even talking about the same period of Howard Hugh's life. Nolans tackling Hugh's later years which to be honest is the most interesting part of his life anyway. And i'm sure people will pick holes in that but these people are the ones who misunderstand. The'll be the same people who are bringing up objections without any understanding of Hugh's life or whats all ready been commited to film. And lets be honest, Scorsese's version wasn't all that great. It didn't really probe any depth into the mans life and you could hardly call it a biopic. It's ok as films stand but people, cut the bullshit, don't make comments without understanding this article/or the mans life. Nolans a great filmmaker and he'll do it justice.

Noexit on Feb 25, 2011


No matter who plays Howard Hughes in the up coming  movie it will still contain a load of fiction in it. I know that Hughes was in Las Vegas in March of 1971.  All the information that you read about him says that he never returned to Las Vegas after leaving  on November 20, 1970.  It was written that he couldn't walk but he was!  It's been said that he had long hair and he did but only down close to his shoulders.  His fingernails were from a 1/4" to 3/8" long and manicured.   With him was Levar B. Myler (a senior penthouse aide) to his left and John H. Meier (his business manager who is better known for his involvement in Watergate) who was standing to his right.  They were standing in front of a black Cadillac Limo parked at the curb in front of the Mint Hotel.  In the front passenger seat sat John M. Holmes Jr, (another senior penthouse aide).  A full description of the picture that I witnessed being taken can be found under the title "Howard Hughes Looking For The Picture. Jack

Jack on Jul 25, 2011


Jim Carrey talks a bit about this project back in 2001 with Charlie Rose (about 38 minutes in).

levm on Aug 5, 2011


It was written with Jim Carrey in line to play the role, so I think it should still go to him. He's only grown as an actor and it's been a while since we've had a serious Jim Carrey role. JGL is a good actor but would look too young for Howard Hughes

Andy on Dec 28, 2011

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