Warren Beatty's Next Role

Warren Beatty has already starred in Ishtar, so how big of a bomb could a lousy presidential campaign actually be?

The 62-year-old actor, now reportedly considering a 2000 race, appears a marked improvement over the standard White House aspirant. First, the guy has kissed and never told, a welcome relief from the hot-sheets-motel feel of Clinton and Gingrich. Second, Beatty has impeccable taste: Julie Christie and Annette Bening vs. Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers? You do the math. And, to boot, none of his former girlfriends— a veritable Rainbow Coalition of blonds, brunets, and redheads— has a bad thing to say about her former loverman. Warren, you see, was tantric before tantric was cool.

And speaking of positions, fashioning a campaign platform is a breeze compared to getting a project greenlighted in Hollywood. Heck, Bulworth probably went through five rewrites and a few script doctors. So, with a little political direction from Pat Caddell, the role of candidate isn't much of a stretch for the limber Beatty. And, if Warren senses that his campaign is headed for the turnaround pile, he can always drop out, citing "artistic differences" or "scheduling conflicts."

illustration: Tom Tomorrow

But Beatty's a closer, not a quitter. If things don't work out, he can slap one of those "Alan Smithee" credits on the campaign and act as if it never happened.