Howard Hughes, Jane Russell, Howard Hughes Hollywood discussed on Bullseye with Jesse Thorn


Bullseye. Jesse thorn? If you're just joining us, I'm talking with the writer Karina Longworth. She's an expert on the history of Hollywood's golden age, she hosts a podcast about it. It's called you must remember this. She also has a new book out it's called seduction sex lies in stardom in Howard Hughes Hollywood, which talk a little bit about Jane Russell because Jane Russell is a star who is much deeper into Hughes life as he became more exploitative and more manipulative and more insane. Tell me about how Hughes and Jane Russell connected. So she was a teenage girl from the valley. She was engaged area football player, and she did some quote unquote, sports modeling, which was just very tame pinup photos of her in a bathing suit, one of these photos was spotted by an agent who knew that Howard. He was looking for a girl to play half Mexican in a movie, he got Howard. He is the head shot. She was brought in for an audition. She was cast was just like a normal way. For Howard Hughes to cast people in movies lick get a picture of somebody. There's a point where he's like literally like getting a picture of somebody than sending somebody to take a picture of that person bringing them to Hollywood on that basis say this would not have been normal for anybody else. But yes, this was normal for Howard Hughes, and especially after Jane Russell, he did develop this process of he. He read every magazine and newspaper. He could get his hands on he'd spot a picture of a girl that he liked the looks of. And then he'd hire one of his personal photographers to go to wherever that girl was and take very specific. He was mandated photos. These photos had to be the actress or the girl was not supposed to be wearing any glamour makeup or have her hair professionally done and the photos were supposed to be head on and simple profile shot. So that he could see what they really looks like. And then if he liked what they really looked like he'd start this whole process of having her come to Los Angeles, and he'd get her either a hotel room or an apartment or a house, and he'd assign people on his staff to drive them around and basically spy on them twenty four hours a day, and put them through acting classes, and all of these things and the whole purpose of this in most cases was so that there could be a girl and a house who was available for Howard Hughes one he wanted to see her and he was almost like a collector of women. He would. Date multiple people at the same time. And would like put them up in bungalows at the at the hotel yet at the Beverly Hills hotel. Let's talk about the outlook the movie that Jane Russell start in tell me a little bit about it as a movie what's it about? It's about Billy the kid. And it's based on a sort of fantasy version of the Billy the kid's story that Howard hawks had once heard which was that his his death was faked and that he actually ran off with this girl and the way that it ended up manifesting in this movie that Howard Hughes made is that Billy the kid is in hiding, and he meets this young woman that's half Mexican woman played by Jane Russell. And she understands that Billy the kid had killed her brother. So she like tries to kill him with a pitchfork, and he rapes her in a hayloft, and then she falls into some kind of hypnotic. Love with him. And basically goes from being of strong women who wants to kill him to being his slave. It's reflective of the relationships that Hugh seem to want to have with women which were very much about power. I mean, he was a guy who wanted to have control over everything and his environment. Absolutely. And you know, I it seems almost like that is as important to him as. You know that that is like the central part of being a playboy with for him. Is that kind of sense of control and ownership? Absolutely. And and that's also where being a collector comes into because he didn't want just one woman with whom he would be forced to have an intimate relationship..

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