An original screenplay by John Logan, The Aviator tells the story of aviation pioneer Howard Hughes (DiCaprio), the eccentric billionaire industrialist and Hollywood film mogul, famous for romancing some of the world's most beautiful women.
The drama recounts the years of his life from the late 1920s though the 1940s, an epoch when Hughes was directing and producing Hollywood movies and test flying innovative aircraft he designed and created. A daredevil pilot, the most famous flyer since Charles Lindbergh, Hughes became a major force in commercial aviation. He was a mythic figure in the America of his day, imbued with an aura of excitement, glamour and mystery.
"The Aviator" looks at Hughes' emotional life, and his love
affairs with two Hollywood legends, elegant, Yankee-bred screen star
Katharine Hepburn in the 1930s, and the sensual and luminous screen
beauty of the 1940s, Ava Gardner. It also chronicles Hughes' struggle
with his physical disabilities and phobias, and with his increasingly
erratic, obsessive-compulsive behavior that leads him ultimately to
isolate himself from his associates and withdraw from the world. Hughes would eventually move to Las Vegas where he would became a recluse. This didn't stop him from building up one of the best casino organizations on the Strip.
Martin Scorsese is the director of over twenty-five films including "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," "The Color of Money," "GoodFellas," "The Age of Innocence," "Kundun," "Bringing Out the Dead" and "Gangs of New York," which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. In 1990, Mr. Scorsese and seven other prominent filmmakers created The Film Foundation which serves as an intermediary between the studios and film archives to encourage the restoration and preservation of films in their libraries. Mr. Scorsese is the recipient of the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award and was also honored with a tribute from the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Howard Hughes the billionaire tycoon, oil baron, casino owner, ladies' man, aviation enthusiast and Hollywood producer and director ("Hell's Angels" - 1930). The film focuses on Hughes' early life and his passion for flying. It ends at 1946. A handsome and dashing young man, Hughes romanced such Hollywood legends as Ava Gardner, Katherine Hepburn, Betty Davis and Jean Harlow, among others.
Principal photography began July 7 2003 at Mel's Cite du Cinema in Montreal with exterior sequences filmed on location in Los Angeles. The film will be distributed in North America by Warner Bros. Pictures/Miramax Films and by Initial internationally.
Despite the wild fires in California which delayed the shooting, The Aviator wrapped up on schedule, November 2003.
Scorsese reunites on The Aviator with several longtime collaborators:
Director of Photography is Robert Richardson who worked with the director on Casino and Bringing Out the Dead. Richardson has shot several Oliver Stone films, including Platoon, JFK and Nixon, and most recently photographed Quentin Tarantino's upcoming Kill Bill.
Production designer Dante Ferretti, a seven-time Academy Award nominee, previously designed five films for Scorsese, The Age of Innocence, Casino, Kundun, Bringing Out the Dead and Gangs of New York. His other credits include Interview with the Vampire, Baron Munchausen, Pier Paolo Pasolini's Decameron and Federico Fellini's City of Women.
Costume designer Sandy Powell is an Academy Award winner for Shakespeare In Love and Academy Award nominee the same year for Velvet Goldmine. Wings of the Dove, for which she was also nominated for an Oscar, and Far From Heaven are among her many other credits.
Set decorator Francesca Lo Schiavo has collaborated with Dante Ferretti for many years, most recently on Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain, as well as Gangs of New York, Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet, Baron Munchausen and Federico Fellini's And the Ship Sails On.
Editor Thelma Schoonmaker received an Academy Award and a British Film Academy Award (BAFTA) for her work on Mr. Scorsese's Raging Bull. She subsequently edited all his films, including his documentaries A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies and Il Mio Viaggio in Italia. She is well known for the way she edited the casino games in Casino. She also won an Academy Award for her work her on The Aviator as she would two years later for her work on The Departed.
Music by Howard Shore
Leonardo DiCaprio starred in two of 2002's biggest hits, Mr. Scorsese's Gangs of New York and Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can. He previously starred in James Cameron's Titanic, one of the most successful films in motion picture history and winner of twelve Academy Awards. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Among his other films are William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, Marvin's Room and The Beach.
Cate Blanchett was in Ron Howard's The Missing and Joel Schumacher's Veronica Guerin. She is the Golden Globe winner for Elizabeth, and also appeared in The Lord of the Rings, Bandits and Heaven.
Kate Beckinsale starred in Pearl Harbor, Serendipity, Van Helsing and Underworld.
John C. Reilly plays Hughes' loyal right hand man, Noah Dietrich. Reilly received a 2002 Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Chicago, appearing in three of that year's Best Picture nominees, Chicago, Gangs of New York and The Hours. Other credits include Magnolia and The Perfect Storm.
Jude Law, Oscar-nominated for 'The Talented Mr. Ripley,' and also appears in 'Cold Mountain' and 'The World of Tomorrow.'
John Logan received an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay for the Oscar winning film Gladiator. His other credits include The Time Machine, The Last Samurai, Any Given Sunday and RKO 281.
There are also appearances by Alec Baldwin as Hughes' rival, Pan Am visionary Juan Trippe and Alan Alda as Hughes' adversary, Sen. Owen Brewster.
Hughes -- Leonardo DiCaprio
Also: John C. Reilly, Nellie Sciutto, Vincent Laresca, Justin Shilton, Brent Spiner, Chris Ufland , Willem Dafoe (cameo appearance), Matt Ross (Down with Love, American Psycho), Adam Scott (TV's Six Feet Under), Alan Alda (What Women Want, TV's MASH), Ian Holm (The Lord of the Rings, The Sweet Hereafter) and Kelli Garner (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).
Director Martin Scorsese has a life-long fear of flying
Leonardo DiCaprio will take flying lessons to familiarize himself in the role of "The Aviator"
The Spruce Goose is on display in an aviation museum in McMinnville, Oregon, USA. Unfortunately, the enormous Hughes plane The Spruce Goose, flew only once in 1947. Scorsese's film will end in 1946. This must be a HUGE RELIEF to the production crew who won't have to build an airboat with a wingspan of 320 feet . . .
Other actors who have portrayed Hughes on film: Tommy Lee Jones ("The Amazing Howard Hughes"); Jason Robards ("Melvin and Howard")
The Evergreen Aviation Museum - The Spruce Goose Documentary
Flight of The Spruce Goose
Biography of Howard Hughes
Las Vegas Strip History - Hughes
Jim Carrey Stars as Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes The Genius (For Fans of the Aviator)