Must Watch List: Rules Don't Apply

It was another day at the office. I was finishing up some research for Allied Marketing in Buckhead when one of the promotions coordinators emailed me with an exciting opportunity. I had applied to the firm back in September and had since been interning with them for my fall semester. In my application, I noted that I was the senior editor for Her Campus so they knew of my writing skills, but it had never come in handy until now.

You never know when the work you've been doing will mesh so perfectly with new work you've been recently been learning. When the firm I was interning at asked me to go to a private movie screening and meet the director and the actors, how could I refuse? Like, duh. Never would I have guessed that I would fall for the story of the film (seriously, it made me choke up), much less that I'd be meeting the talent behind it.

If you would have told me earlier this year that I'd be meeting Warren Beatty, Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich or that I would be doing so as a digital media intern for a marketing firm, I would've told you no way. However, I think we can all agree 2016 has been a roller coaster of emotions, growth and self-realization. Anyway, without further babble by me, this is the magnificent synopsis for the film Rules Don't Apply written, directed and produced by Warren Beatty himself.

An aspiring young actress (Lily Collins) and her ambitious young driver (Alden Ehrenreich) struggle hopefully with the absurd eccentricities of the wildly unpredictable billionaire (Warren Beatty) whom they work for.

It’s Hollywood, 1958. Small town beauty queen and devout Baptist virgin Marla Mabrey (Collins), under contract to the infamous Howard Hughes (Beatty), arrives in Los Angeles. At the airport, she meets her driver Frank Forbes (Ehrenreich), who is engaged to be married to his 7th grade sweetheart and is a deeply religious Methodist. Their instant attraction not only puts their religious convictions to the test, but also defies Hughes’ #1 rule: no employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress. Hughes’ behavior intersects with Marla and Frank in very separate and unexpected ways, and as they are drawn deeper into his bizarre world, their values are challenged and their lives are changed.

If you adore old Hollywood films, then this is the movie for you. After the movie screening, I was asked to attend a roundtable discussion with Beatty, Collins and Ehrenreich at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) the next day. There had been a short Q & A after the screening but we were going to go more in depth at the discussion. When I arrived I was greeted by my internship supervisor and six other media representatives from Georgia Tech, SCAD, Emory and Georgia State Signal. Together, we sat down for quick 20 minute interviews with the talent.

[Edited for clarity]  


Q: You mentioned at the Q & A last night that Warren Beatty often wore many different hats, being the writer, actor, director, and producer. Was there one that was the most involved?


Lily: I think they pretty much blended together. Unless he was having a conversation with one of the other producers about something entirely — like if someone was coming on set in two weeks, then he'd just be Warren the director for that mainly.



Q: I really like yours and Mr. Beatty's comments last night about feminism and technology sort of underlying in the movie. Do you feel like your character, Marla, encompasses that pre-modern feminist nature?


Lily: Yea, I do. That's not something I intentionally set out to do with her character. But she was definitely, in that brink of time, stepping out and speaking out as a young woman about what it was she was or wasn't willing to do. Like in the actress screening scene, they wanted her to put on a bathing suit but she didn't do it. They wanted her to be this person, but she wasn't going to be. It was just her second nature and she was very vocal about that. Even when she speaks to Howard (Beatty) it's more ballsy and different that the other females that were in the auditions with her. So I definitely do think she represents this new coming-of-age woman.


Q: What advice do both of you (Lily and Alden) have for people in our age group as far as people telling you what you can't and can do in your professional lives?


Alden: I think as you get more involved in an industry or career, you're being told more and more frequently this is how things are done traditionally. In that context, it might sound simple, but it becomes your responsibility to listen to your own voice rather than the voices of other people. Especially when you don't have a lot of experience and you're surrounded by people with plenty of experience, it's easy to get swept away in the conventions that they're presenting to you. And I think if you want to do something in any field that has purpose and is an expression for who you are, you have to be really dogged about making sure that A) you can hear yourself and you know what you actually want which isn't always easy and B) to stand up for that voice once you can hear it.


Lily: And I just wrote a book about exactly that, it comes out in March. It's called "Unfiltered" and it's all about finding your voice and not letting others preconceived ideas about you affect how it is that you live your life. Specifically speaking to young women, it's all about talking about those taboo things that we don't like to talk about. Then, you find out that a ton of other women and even men have the same thoughts too. I think as long as you're solid and confident about the conversations you're having within yourself about the decisions you're making, no one else can judge your experience. As long as you're kind, direct and honest with your words, no one can fault you. And as long as you're doing what you're passionate about, you're doing it for the right reasons.


Q: About the role of religion in the film, since it's not typically a topic we see in Hollywood films — specifically Frank's (Alden) character in the film, it's mentioned your character stops saying grace — do you feel like that was Frank losing some of his religious beliefs or were you just trying to show the progression into the '60s about the more free thinking?


Alden: I think over the course of the film, and I think this is true for a lot of people who grow up in a religious environment then move somewhere else, and it could be religion or anything really, like for college or a new city, the value system of the place you moved to slowly replaces the value system that you were brought up with. I feel like that's what maturity is.



To conclude I really loved the movie and all the care that was put into its development. I definitely recommend watching it, if you haven't already, and if you're a fan of film noir esque films. In case you needed more convincing here is the trailer: It is out now in theaters!