Amazon.com Exclusive: Joe Laitin and Warren Beatty Excerpted Interview Excerpt and photographs courtesy of the author, Suzanne Finstad, by permission of Peter Laitin.
Beatty with Joe Laitin
JL: There apparently aren't that many people who really know you anyway. I don't know whether you deliberately keep people at arm's length. I suppose you do...
WB: I am finding more and more that it's really very hard to please a lot of people. And I would say it's impossible. And so I have been allowing that need to try to please a lot of people to slip away from me in the past couple of years. So that I realize now that there will be a lot of people that dislike me just on principle, there will be a lot of people that will resent me, there will be a lot of people that will like me, and there'll be an awful lot of people that just don't really care one way or the other. So if I allowed myself to be upset by that, then I'd be a pretty upset person.
So I've got to just enjoy my own work. My business is not exploitation and my business is not selling pictures. My business is not figuring out good angles for press and so forth. My business, or my work, is acting right now. And once I forget about that, I'm gonna be a boring actor and I'm not gonna have any fun at it. And that's why I hire people to do--that's why I have an agent, that's why I have somebody who's a press representative, and that's why I have a business manager. Because I don't want to think about those things. And I find that if I try to think about them, I don't do it well. All I know is when I'm enjoying my work in acting and when I'm not, when I think I'm doing well and when I don't.
It's like the more attention that is brought to you, the more obstacles that are put in your path, just doing an honest day's work creatively. There are more obstacles.
With sister Shirley Maclaine
It's nice to have a guy from Time magazine want to come and talk to you on the set. On the other hand, he wouldn't want to come and talk to you if you were doing a play off-Broadway somewhere, and maybe you would be able to concentrate a little better. And if he comes onto the set, you've gotta either be polite to him and acknowledge his presence and talk to him, or you have to forget about him--if he tries to talk to you, ignore him and just think about your work. In which case, he's gonna think you're a nut, or that you're trying to be rude to him or offend him in some way. And that's why, when a lot of strangers come on the set, I usually go to my dressing room or something. But there can be an awful lot of those obstacles, and those obstacles, I think they can just eat you up.
JL: Are these quotes of yours and Shirley's [Maclaine] in print without any direct communication between you, is that widening whatever breach there is between you, Warren?
WB: Not on my part, it certainly isn't, and I don't feel that there's a specific breach between us. And I'm sure that she feels the same way...
JL: Now this is the only part that I'm really interested in, because if you don't really want to communicate with her, I'm very curious to know why. It may explain a part of your character that I don't know anything about.
WB: Well, I don't blame you for being curious, but that doesn't mean that I've got to, you know, go into my sister.
“Whatever you have read or heard about me through articles or gossip, forget it. I am nothing like that Warren Beatty. I am nothing like what you have read.” —Warren Beatty
Stunningly researched, engrossing, and exquisitely detailed, Warren Beatty: A Private Man gives us a new understanding of the enigmatic, fiercely intelligent star who embodies the American dream. Weaving together hundreds of candid interviews, photographs from private albums, personal letters, and diaries, lauded biographer Suzanne Finstad unveils the real Beatty and constructs the definitive, myth-shattering account of his evolution from Hollywood’s enfant terrible to film legend.
If You Enjoy "Warren Beatty: A Private Man (Paperback)", May We Also Recommend: