Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale
Plot: Biopic of billionaire Howard Hughes, starting with his early filmmaking years as owner of RKO studios but mostly focusing on his role in designing and promoting new aircraft. Hughes was a risk-taker spending several fortunes on designing experimental aircraft and eventually founding TWA as a rival to Pan AM airlines owned by his great rival Juan Trippe.
Martin Scorsese requested that Cate Blanchett watch all of the first 15 films of Katharine Hepburn to learn her mannerism and her poise.
Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Katharine Hepburn makes her the first performer to win an Oscar for playing a real-life Oscar winner
Freckles were painstakingly painted onto Cate Blanchett's face, arms, and chest to make her resemble Katharine Hepburn.
Also in preparation for his role as Howard Hughes, Leonardo DiCaprio spent some time with an actual OCD patient named Edward. He advised him on a number of 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.
Two scenes were filmed aboard the retired ocean liner RMS Queen Mary, permanently berthed in Long Beach, CA, to take advantage of the vessel's still-extant 1930s Artdeco 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.
Jane Lynch's scenes as Amelia Earhart were cut from the movie.
Howard Hughes' Los Angeles home in the film was actually the home he lived on Muirland Drive.
In January 2002, Jim Carrey and director Christopher Nolan tried to start a Howard Hughes biopic project with Castle Rock Productions but it didn't get off ground soon enough to beat this movie into production.
Gwyneth Paltrow was originally signed on to play Ava Gardner but dropped out. She was replaced at the last minute with Kate Beckinsale.
Leonardo DiCaprio (standing roughly 6ft) is several inches smaller than the actual Howard Hughes (6ft4)
Director Martin Scorsese has a cameo 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 provides the voice of the projectionist Hughes talks to in the screening room.