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10. Steven Spielberg was interested in directing a Howard Hughes biopic.
9. Cate Blanchett had three different red-hair wigs for this film.
8. Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Katharine Hepburn makes her the first performer to win an Oscar for playing a real-life Oscar winner (Hepburn won a record 4).
7. Freckles were painstakingly painted onto Cate Blanchett's face, arms, and chest to make her resemble Katharine Hepburn.
6. The only Martin Scorsese film Leonardo DiCaprio has starred in rated PG-13.
5. Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
4. Kate Beckinsale gained 20 pounds for her portrayal of Ava Gardner.
3. Howard Hughes' Los Angeles home in the film was actually the home he lived on Muirland Drive.
2. Michael Mann was originally going to direct the film, but having directed back-to-back biopics The Insider (1999) and Ali (2001), he decided to produce instead, and offered the script to Martin Scorsese.
1. In his speech at the Golden Globes, Leonardo DiCaprio revealed that Michael Mann had a hand in writing the film's screenplay.
Martin Scorsese: in a tuxedo and slicked hair, pulling a woman from behind Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he walks the red carpet with Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett). Scorsese also provides the voice of the projectionist Hughes talks to in the screening room.
Released through Miramax films, whose parent company is the Walt Disney Pictures Corporation. Before forming his own production company, Walt Disney's animated films and shorts were distributed by RKO Pictures, which was later purchased by Howard Hughes.
Martin Scorsese designed each year in the film to look just the way a color film from that time period would look. Achieved mainly through digitally enhanced post-production, Scorsese recreated the look of Cinecolor and two-strip Technicolor. Watch in particular for the scene where Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) meets Errol Flynn (Jude Law) in the club. Hughes is served precisely placed peas on a plate, and they appear blue or turquoise - just as they'd have looked in the primitive two-strip Technicolor process. As Hughes ages throughout the film, the color gets more sophisticated and full-bodied.
Four of the miniature airplanes used in creating the effects for the film are now on display at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, home of the real Howard Hughes HK-1 "Spruce Goose". Models on display include two of the biplanes from the Hell's Angels (1930) sequence, most of the XF-11 model, and the motion-control "Spruce Goose". The "Spruce Goose" model is remarkably detailed, and even includes scale puppets of Howard Hughes and Dr. Fritz.
Also in preparation for his role as Howard Hughes, Leonardo DiCaprio spent some time with an actual OCD patient named Edward. He advised him on a number of different aspects of the condition, in particular the tendency to repeat sentences over and over as in the scene where Hughes repeatedly asks to see the blueprints for the Hercules.
Production was delayed in October 2003, when wildfires in southern California burned several sets.
The original screenplay was inspired by the book "Howard Hughes: The Untold Story" by Peter Harry Brown and Pat Broeske.
Leonardo DiCaprio received an Oscar nomination for playing Howard Hughes, as had Jason Robards for the film Melvin and Howard (1980). Mary Steenburgen won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in that film, just as Cate Blanchett did for this film.
Jane Lynch's scenes as Amelia Earhart were cut from the movie.
Many had tried to produce a Howard Hughes biopic before this. Among the failed attempts are:
1. A companion piece to Reds (1981) planned by actor-director Warren Beatty.
2. John Malkovich and partner Russell Smith attempt in 1993.
3. The adaptation planned by Allen Hughes and Albert Hughes who wanted Johnny Depp in the lead.
4. A Brian De Palma-directed biopic with Touchstone which fell through because of the $80 million price tag.
5. In January 2000, it was announced that Milos Forman was to direct a biopic with Edward Norton as Hughes and a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.
6. In January 2002, Jim Carrey and director Christopher Nolan tried to start the project with Castle Rock Productions but it didn't get off ground soon enough to beat this movie into production.