Warren Beatty recommends 3 Warren Beatty films — sort of

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Warren Beatty plays a rapping politician in “Bulworth” (1998). | Sun-Times file

Ask Warren Beatty to recommend three of his movies to a hypothetical someone who’s never seen a Warren Beatty movie, and . . .

Well. It’s not that simple.

“It depends on who’s going to be watching,” says Beatty. “I would recommend different movies to different people. Are we thinking of anyone in particular?”

He mentions a friend of mine he’d met the night before. “How about her?”

Beatty lowers his voice and proceeds to share his initial impressions of this person as someone who is “political, yes? Definitely about family, maybe a little more straitlaced than the outward glamorous appearance, has more of a maternal instinct than you might expect … is also someone you do NOT want to be on the wrong side of … but also colorful and funnier than people probably think …

“So, for her, I’d say ‘Reds.’ Definitely ‘Reds.’ I think she’d get a lot of out of that.

Warren Beatty plays radical journalist John Reed in “Reds” (1981). | Paramount Pictures

Warren Beatty plays radical journalist John Reed in “Reds” (1981). | Paramount Pictures

“And ‘Shampoo,’ really just for amusement. And then I would say, I would guess … let the record show there was a long pause on Richard’s recorder while I thought about this …

“Maybe ‘Bulworth.’ Yes. ‘Bulworth.’ You know, people have been talking to me so much ‘Bulworth” in the last few months, and I’ve been saying, ‘Yeah, I know it’s good, thanks, thanks,’ and then I actually decided to look at it again.

“And it IS good. That was made at a time when I could really make the movie I wanted to make. The studio let me alone. And there’s something in the throwaway language in that movie that holds up. I got to talk about things like thedeterioration of employment in the inner cities — in a rap.

“For years, people kicked around suggesting that I [run for office]. I never commented publicly, ever. The fact is, I never really considered it. I think I told you last night: To me, running for political office would be like running for crucifixion.

“I saw so many friends’ lives destroyed [because they ran for office]. All that hypocritical American Puritanism brought such huge negativity into the lives of people I knew.”

And that’s how a question to Warren Beatty about which three Warren Beatty movies he’d recommend leads to him explaining why he never seriously considered running for office.

Julie Christie and Warren Beatty in “Shampoo” (1975). | Sun-Times file

Julie Christie and Warren Beatty in “Shampoo” (1975). | Sun-Times file

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