Jump to: Cameo (2)
Director Martin Scorsese designed each year in this movie to look just the way a color movie from that time period would look. Achieved mainly through digitally enhanced post-production, Scorsese re-created 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 two-strip Technicolor process. As Hughes ages throughout the movie, the color gets more sophisticated and full-bodied.
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Leonardo DiCaprio spent a day with Jane Russell to hear her memories and impressions of Howard Hughes. She was very impressed with DiCaprio's visit, and told him that Hughes was a quiet, yet extremely stubborn man, who always got his way in the end.
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Director Martin Scorsese requested that Cate Blanchett watch the first fifteen movies of Katharine Hepburn, to learn her mannerism and her poise.
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In preparation for her role as Katharine Hepburn, Cate Blanchett learned to play tennis and golf, and took cold showers, for which Hepburn was known.
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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 four).
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Also in preparation for his role as Howard Hughes, Leonardo DiCaprio spent some time with an O.C.D. patient named Edward. He advised him on several 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.
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Martin Scorsese claims that he paid five hundred thousand dollars of his own money to cover over budget expenses.
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Theatrical movie debut of Gwen Stefani. Martin Scorsese was looking for someone to fill the role of Jean Harlow, when he noticed Stefani appearing on a Vogue cover poster in New York City.
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Freckles were painstakingly painted onto Cate Blanchett's face, arms, and chest to make her resemble Katharine Hepburn.
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DIRECTOR CAMEO (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 provided the voice of the projectionist, to whom Hughes talks, in the screening room.
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First movie by Director Martin Scorsese to gross over one hundred million dollars in the U.S.
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Cate Blanchett felt that accurately reproducing Katharine Hepburn's distinctive upper class New Englander accent was crucial to her portrayal of this Hollywood icon. She did daily voice exercises with Voice Coach Tim Monich (with whom Blanchett had worked previously on The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)), and also studied Hepburn's early movies and documentaries about her to learn her mannerisms.
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The theme played after Katharine Hepburn tells Howard that she's leaving him, and after the scene in which Ava Gardner confronts Howard about bugging their house, is "Nightmare" by Artie Shaw, the man, with whom Ava says she's having an affair.
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Gwen Stefani was roughly thirty-four-years-old at the time she played Jean Harlow, who was only nineteen-years-old at the time that Hell's Angels (1930) premiered.
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Two scenes were filmed aboard the retired ocean liner R.M.S. Queen Mary, permanently berthed in Long Beach, California, to take advantage of the vessel's still-existant 1930s Art Deco interiors. The "Hell's Angels" wrap party was filmed in the ship's Observation Bar. The scene introducing the H-4 Hercules (Spruce Goose) scale model to the military, was shot in the former First Class main lounge, now called the "Royal Salon". The real "Spruce Goose" was on display in a domed hangar adjacent to the Queen Mary from 1980-1992.
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Howard Hughes' Los Angeles house in this movie was actually the house in which he lived on Muirland Drive.
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Michael Mann was originally going to direct this movie, 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.
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Received the most Academy Award nominations for 2005, with eleven total.
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The budget for the costumes was two million dollars.
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Hughes and Ava Gardner once had a physical fight in the office of Louis B. Mayer. During the brawl, he dislocated her jaw and she hit him over the head with a large glass ashtray, resulting in blood on the wall and furniture. Determined to avoid negative press, Mayer called in his minions to hustle Gardner away and clean up the mess as quickly as possible. Hughes later asked her to marry him.
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Alan Alda avoided watching newsreel footage of the real Senator Owen Brewster. Alda felt that public figures did not speak or behave naturally in front of the newsreel cameras and he wanted his performance to be more natural. However, Alda did make use of photographs of the real-life Senator and used Brewster's legendarily ugly appearance in crafting the role, because it wouldn't work to make Alda look that disgusting, Alda instead used Brewster's looks as an example of how his inner ugliness emerged, and made that the key to his interactions with Howard Hughes.
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Nicole Kidman was also considered for the role of Katharine Hepburn. When the scheduled start date was delayed by several months, Cate Blanchett became available after finishing filming The Missing (2003). Martin Scorsese says that Blanchett had always been his first choice.
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The hangar in which the real-life Howard Hughes partially built his famous "Spruce Goose" airplane was also used for the construction of many of the full-scale models used in Titanic (1997), in which Leonardo DiCaprio also starred.
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The real Howard Hughes was still married to Ella Botts Rice during the production of Hell's Angels (1930) and would have been balancing romantic involvement with Evelyn Brent and Billie Dove.
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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 and Director Warren Beatty. 2. John Malkovich and partner Russell Smith attempted 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 eighty million dollar 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 the ground soon enough to beat this movie into production.
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The original screenplay was inspired by the book "Howard Hughes: The Untold Story" by Peter Harry Brown and Pat Broeske.
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This was the first feature film, with which Leonardo DiCaprio's production company "Appian Way" was involved.
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Gwyneth Paltrow was originally signed on to play Ava Gardner, but dropped out. She was replaced at the last minute with Kate Beckinsale.
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This movie's wide release date in the United States, December 24, 2004, would have been Howard Hughes' alleged ninety-ninth birthday (it is now known he was born on September 24).
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The winning of the Best Cinematography Oscar has been attributed to the unique use of period color palette. The two and three-strip palette that is seen in the movie was accomplished by the use of the LUT - 3D Look Up Table - graphics processor. It was designed by Joshua Pines, Research and Development Vice President of Technicolor Digital Intermediates. The processor was slipped into the digital projector, and thus allowed filtering and applying the two and three color look into the negative.
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According to Martin Scorsese, filming was completed in ninety-one days.
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Purely adjusted for inflation, Hell's Angels (1930) approximately $4M budget, would be approximately $63,356,646 in 2018. Curiously, in 2018 this could be considered a relatively small budget for a movie of this type.
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Leonardo DiCaprio received an Oscar nomination for playing Howard Hughes, as had Jason Robards, Jr. for Melvin and Howard (1980). Mary Steenburgen won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in that movie, just as Cate Blanchett did for this movie.
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Standing six feet (1.83 meters) tall, Leonardo DiCaprio is four inches smaller than the actual Howard Hughes, who stood six feet four inches (1.93 meters) tall.
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Production was delayed in October 2003, when wildfires in southern California burned several sets.
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In his speech at the Golden Globe Awards, Leonardo DiCaprio revealed that Michael Mann had a hand in writing the screenplay.
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The two-engine flying boat, seen numerous times in the movie (including when Howard & Kate fly over Hollywood at night), is a Sikorsky S-38. Howard Hughes owned one at one point. The S-38 was popular in its time for private use and with airlines, including Pan American Airways.
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Cate Blanchett had three different red-hair wigs for this movie.
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Four of the miniature airplanes used in creating the effects for this movie 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.
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The movie's portrayal of Faith Domergue mixes details of her life with that of Mamie Van Doren, with whom Howard Hughes discovered and had a brief romance.
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Included amongst the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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This movie's prints came from a digital intermediate. This digital master has been digitally grain reduced from start to finish. As a result, many moving textures (especially human skin) look smeared and very unnatural, like bad quality video watched on a slow L.C.D. monitor.
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The only Best Picture Oscar nominee of the year to be also nominated for Original Screenplay.
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The cast includes four Oscar winners: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Anne V. Coates, and Martin Scorsese (who had a voice cameo in the movie); and six Oscar nominees: Alan Alda, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Sir Ian Holm John C. Reilly, and Alec Baldwin.
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The Hughes H-1 speed record breaking aircraft was expected to have been depicted in this movie by a full size H-1 replica built by Jim Wright in Oregon. Tragically, the pilot and plane were lost when it crashed in Yellowstone National Park on August 4, 2003.
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Features Alan Alda's only Oscar nominated performance.
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The Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, portrayed famously by Robert Downey, Jr. in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was based heavily on Howard Hughes.
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Barry Pepper was due to play Howard Hughes' chief engineer, Glenn Odekirk, but due to prior commitment and scheduling conflicts with Ripley Under Ground (2005), he had to drop out.
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Released through Miramax Films, whose parent company is Walt Disney Pictures. Before forming his own production company, Walt Disney's animated movies and shorts were distributed by R.K.O. Pictures, which was later purchased by Howard Hughes.
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Martin Scorsese initially approached Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski to film this movie, but he was unavailable. Scorsese then turned to Cinematographer Robert Richardson with whom he had previously worked on Casino (1995) and Bringing Out the Dead (1999).
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When Hughes is being sworn in for his testimony before congress, there is a flurry of flashbulbs around him as photographers take his photo. During one of these flashes, the subliminal image of Hughes skeleton is briefly silhouetted over his body.
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Katharine Hepburn also appeared in The African Queen (1951) for Director John Huston, who was the father of cast member Danny Huston.
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Despite the fact that this was filmed in Super 35, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits.
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In 2020, Martin Scorsese told the New York Times that he seriously considered retiring from filmmaking after the tremendous pressure and stress resulting from his battles with Warner Bros. and Miramax executives on this film.
Hughes claimed that the Mitsubishi Zero was copied after his H-1 racer because of several similarities. Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the Zero, denied this and it is accepted to be nothing more than an enduring myth.
Hughes' "flying yacht", which was used in the scenes with Katerine Hepburn was a replica of a Sikorsky S-38. The S-38 was manufactured in 1929 with a total production run of only 101 planes, all of which were lost. There were a number of military variants as well. The plane used in the film was one of two reproductions that exist.
When then XF-11 spy plane crashed, the wing crashed through the roof of the home of movie and TV star Rosemary DeCamp and her husband John Staler, with a piece of it landing in their bedroom. They were in the living room at the time and were not injured. This 1926 Spanish colonial house is located at 802 North Linden in Beverly Hills.
Leonardo DiCaprio and John C. Reilly previously co-starred in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape".
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Several cast members in this movie have been directed by Woody Allen: Alan Alda in Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), and Everyone Says I Love You (1996), Leonardo DiCaprio in Celebrity (1998), Alec Baldwin in Alice (1990), To Rome with Love (2012), and Blue Jasmine (2013), Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine (2013), Edward Herrmann in The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Frances Conroy, Kenneth Welsh, and Sir Ian Holm in Another Woman (1988).
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Leonardo DiCaprio (Howard Hughes) & Alec Baldwin (Juan Tripp) would star together in another Martin Scorsese movie "The Departed" (2006) although they never shared any scenes together.
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Jude Law (Errol Flynn) starred in this movie with Leonardo DiCaprio (Howard Hughes). Jude also starred in "The Talented Mr. Ripley"(1999) with Matt Damon who would go on to star with Leonardo in "The Departed"(2006) also directed by Martin Scorsese.
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Loudon Wainwright III, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright: Each appear as vocalists at the Coconut Grove nightclub during different eras. Loudon Wainwright guest starred in M*A*S*H (1972), which starred Alan Alda.
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