Chris Nolan to Follow-up ‘Dark Knight Rises’ with Howard Hughes Biopic

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 24th, 2013 at 9:37 am,

Christopher Nolan is a man who dreams big (literally, in Inception) and he plans to continue upping the ante once he completes the final entry in his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. So what better way to follow up a fictional story about a psychologically traumatized billionaire than to make a film about an actual billionaire with crippling mental problems?

That’s reportedly what Nolan has in mind, as it seems he wants to resurrect a long-planned Howard Hughes biopic that was shelved after Martin Scorsese teamed up with Leonardo DiCaprio to bring the famed aviation genius to life on the silver screen back in 2004.

Vulture says that the big difference between Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated work, The Aviator, and Nolan’s project is that the latter would explore Hughes life primarily after 1947. Whereas moviegoers only got a glimpse of the unbridled madness that eventually took control of the man in Scorsese’s film, Nolan wants to explore that portion of Hughes’ existence in full, as chronicled in author Michael Drosnin’s 1985 novel “Citizen Hughes: The Power, the Money and the Madness.”

While The Aviator very much touched on Hughes’ obsessive-compulsive habits, including his extreme aversion to germs and increasingly isolated condition, Nolan wants to examine his truly disturbing and stranger-than-fiction antics in greater detail. Besides his bizarre personal habits (Hughes eventually refused to trim his hair and nails more than once a year, and would only wear tissue boxes on his feet), the fellow also spent millions on attempts to control the food industry in Texas or the quality of air surrounding him – not to mention, his drug addictions and strange dietary habits.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator Chris Nolan to Follow up Dark Knight Rises with Howard Hughes Biopic

DiCaprio as an unhinged Hughes in ‘The Aviator’.

The destructive power of obsession is a recurring theme in Nolan’s films, as are male characters whose personal drive and ambitions often have detrimental effects on their lives in general. It’s no wonder then that a historical figure like Hughes would be of interest, since his story is essentially the ultimate cautionary tale about how a person who possesses great intellectual capabilities and work ethic can become their own worst enemy – and lose track of what mattered to them in the first place.

Fortunately Nolan has not proven to be that kind of man himself, and he’s just as qualified as anyone to take another stab at exploring the nature of Hughes’ character on the big screen. It also helps that, though Scorsese’s Aviator remains well-regarded, it’s not untouchable – as most cinemaphiles consider it a technically precise biographical motion picture as opposed to the definitive Hughes masterpiece. So there’s arguably room for Nolan to improve on what Scorsese did.

Nolan wouldn’t commence pre-production on his Howard Hughes project until after he finishes his final outing with the Caped Crusader, and the movie itself likely won’t reach theaters until 2014 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, The Dark Knight Rises next summer on July 20th.

Source: Vulture

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  1. The Aviator is a brilliant film. Did everything right.

  2. Wow, I’m completely up for this. I think Nolan could do a great Hughes film.

  3. Dsb I’ve never seen aviator due to my unliking of dicaprio at the time I’ve warmed to him more since inception but I might have to check it out now

    • bigd,

      Yeah, I think a lot of people look at DiCaprio and think “Titanic.” But he’s come a LONG way since then. He’s one of my favorite actors these days.


      • That was my issue, Titanic and Romeo and Juliet… started changing a bit with Gangs of New York and Catch Me If You Can, more with The Departed, then Shutter Island (despite being a horribly predictable film was aces with acting) and Inception made me a fan. I look forward to his films now — I need to see The Aviator sometime.

        • Dont offen post here but read the site alot.

          Just like to add that I truely look forward to seeing DiCaprio in a film nowadays as Vic says he’s come along way since Titanic. Check out the films Greg mentioned and I also loved hhim in Blood Diamond.

          • bikerman,

            Yeah, Blood Diamond was the movie that changed my mind about DiCaprio.


    • Are you serious? From his very first movie “What’s eating Gilbert Grape?,” DiCaprio has had a legendary run of incredible performances (save for Titanic). “The Aviator” won 5 effing Oscars! You’re telling me you had to see “Inception” before giving him and a 5 Oscar winning movie a sniff?

  4. Interesting choice, although when I first heard of it me and some people I know thought it was a remake of The Aviator. But wouldn’t it be harder to do a film of Hughes’ entire life? And how weird would it be if he gets his Inception star to reprise his role as Howard Hughes?

  5. Since Nolan is interested in Bond, I wish his next project was him directing the next Bond movie.

  6. Howard Hughes was a bona fide genius.
    A real man of towering ambition and imagination.

    And a visionary.

    Howard Hughes was one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs of the 20th Century,
    certainly rivaling Thomas Watson, Jr., Henry Ford, Tex Thornton, and Alfred Sloan.

    Without Howard’s decent into madness, from what I believe had its roots
    in a series of massive concussions in plane crashes as a test pilot,
    the sky was literally the limit of what he might have done.

    Howard had to fight demons and addictions no ordinary man could defeat
    but nonetheless the extraordinary Hughes managed to do great things.

    My hope is Nolan affords Howard the respect he deserves.
    Howard Hughes was a great man and a great American.
    Who he was has been obscured by what he became.

    • I agree with you. Anything about Hughes interests me, even though much about him is mis-stated. The “Aviator” actually wasn’t that accurate, and DeCaprio did not truly depict Hughes well at all. There just wasn’t any similarity, just his own personal interest in Hughes himself.
      I look forward to this project happily.

  7. Ditto

  8. I don’t know how I feel about this news…I love Nolan, but I don’t think that he could touch Scorsese. Sure, the movie doesn’t have to be better than Marty’s film, but Marty made such an amazing movie that it’s hard to see why I would bother watching another film about Hughes.

  9. You think Nolan would be sick of making films about demented billionaires.

    • I’m glad you said it first cause I was just thinking the same thing.

  10. Sounds good to me in that we get a movie about the fascinating loon, and Nolan finally leaves poor old Batsyman alone.

    And isn’t it amazing how much Hughes looks like Di Caprio?

    • Are you trying to say Nolan’s Batman movies are bad?

  11. He’s gonna make this and everyone is gonna say how original Nolan is…

    • Your hate for Nolan is obvious.

      • I don’t hate Nolan. I just find it funny how high of a pedestal people put him on. I enjoy his films. Just don’t think he’s a “great” as some people think.

        • Sully, I’m with you on this one. I enjoy his films, I think some of them are great (Inception,The Prestige) but people just go nuts for the guy and it is impossible to have any kind of critism without being called a hater.

  12. Hm. The only way this would be good is if he reteams with DiCaprio. He defined the role in Aviator. And, Scorscese made an instant classic. I’ve watched Aviator many, many times and it gets better with each viewing (can’t say the same for Dark Knight; for a guy who prides himself on bringing ‘realism’ to Batman, his Joker is highly unbelieveable. As is Harvey Dent’s turn to the ‘dark side’).

  13. I hope Leo does this movie too! I love the Aviator. I would be just fine with Nolan getting someone else, since Leo gets all the work these days, but for strictly continuity reasons, it would be great to have Leo play this guy again. What a double feature that would make. I already think Shutter Island and Inception make a great double feature, it would be great for another Marty and Nolan flick to be so watchable back to back.

    Bring it on.

    By the way, did you all hear about the Talia Al Ghul rumors yet? Marion Cotillard. I’m stoked if true.


  14. I loved The Aviator but it ended before we really got to see the total breakdown he went through. So I don’t see a problem with Nolan doing it at all. Because he won’t be telling the same story. I’ve been interested in all things Howard Hughes since I first heard about him as a kid and would love to see someone try to tell the story of his later years. It boggles the mind to think about how far into total madness Hughes went and I think Nolan is someone who can do a great job of bringing this to the screen…

  15. I heard Marion cotillard is rumored to star as talisman al ghul. Is that true?

  16. I heard Marion cotillard is rumored to star as talia al ghul. Is that true?

  17. Aviator was the boring part of Howards life.
    During the last 10 years, is when the real interesting stuff happened.

    His ghost haunts the Pantages theatre to this day,,,

    • If Nolan’s Hughes biopic focuses on the last 10 to 15 years of the billionaire’s life, especially when he went through that total breakdown, I’m there.

      Scorsese’s The Aviator was ok, but that movie came out during the time when I loathed Leonardo DiCaprio (now that he’s older and is making more interesting choices about the movies he stars in, he’s become polished, mature and much less annoying).

    • I wouldnt say any part of Hughes life was boring 790, The Aviator showed his genius and insane creativity, watchinfg the descent into madness is often more rewarding than simply seeing the madness itself.

  18. Aviator was the BORING part of Hughes’ life?! Huh?! Your definition of boring must be vastly different from the rest of society’s. And, DiCaprio was brilliant as Howard Hughes. Anyone who says different has a mountain size chip on their shoulder.

  19. I’m looking forward to the new biopic of Howard Hughes. Hopefully there will be more truths told about him. Even though it has been written that he was not able to walk or that he had long hair and long finger nails or that he never returned to Las Vegas is that really true? I will agree that he had long hair down to his shoulders and his finger nails were from 1/4 to 3/8″, but I don’t agree with him not being able to walk or that he never returned to Las Vegas after leaving on November 20, 1970. The reason why is because I witnessed a photograph being taken of him in front of the Mint Hotel in Las vegas in March of 1971. Howard Hughes with 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) standing to his right. In the front passenger seat of the black Cadillac Limo that was parked at the curb sat John M. Holmes Jr.,(another senior aide). Hopefully this photo will be found so the stories about Mr Hughes can be corrected. For more details on how I know can be found with a search search under Levar B. Myler.