Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Arthur Penn

Arthur was already a seminal figure in television and theater when he arrived in movies. It was during the collapse of the old Hollywood system, an era that allowed us inmates to take over the asylum.

He was fun to argue with. On Bonnie and Clyde, we decided we would have an argument every day after shooting, even if we had nothing to argue about, thereby finding and correcting any remaining problems. It was eye-opening how little time it took to agree. It was the first movie I produced. I was very full of myself. I pulled up to a red light at Sunset and Rodeo, turned to him and demanded, "All right, Arthur, let's be brutal with these people. What's our biggest remaining problem?" He answered quickly, "You." I began correcting our "biggest remaining problem" within seconds.

He was a rare combination of intelligence, humanity and humility, with a healthy impatience for Hollywood. He never went along for the ride. He knew where the joke was. He always put his love for his family first. How brilliant was I to badger him into working with me!

Warren Beatty

Beatty is an actor and Oscar-winning director