By now, we all know the origins of the iconic love story between Annette Bening and Warren Beatty: The pair fell in love while filming Bugsy; Beatty, in particular, fell hard for Bening while downing a plate of garlic chicken. But last night, at the Museum of the Moving Image’s annual gala salute, Bening announced that she had a slightly different — and slightly raunchier — recollection of their incipient romance.
After Bening’s former co-stars and collaborators (plus Call Me by Your Name’s Timothee Chalamet) honored the Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool actress with stories, clips, and memories from her best roles — and Beatty told the garlic chicken tale again — Bening took the stage to share her side of the story:
“We were working on our film together, Bugsy. He was being very professional, and I was being very professional. We movie-kissed. That’s different than a real kiss, as many of the actors in this room know. We went out to dinner … Okay, now we’re tip-toeing … and we went to his house. I can’t believe I’m saying this! It’s already in Vanity Fair, anyway, so who gives a fuck? He told this story long ago without my permission! But anyway, his version is much better, I’m sorry. You’re getting my version.”
In her version, Bening got right to the point. “So we’re in his kitchen, and he’s like, ‘Do you want to have a baby with me?’” Here, she paused, laughing, to ask her husband if she should go on: “Is this okay, Warren? I’m going here. You might have to run up here — your version is much better.”
Beatty yelled back from the audience, “Just don’t leave anything out!”
Obviously, the bold line worked: Bening said she responded immediately, with a simple yes. “Now some people, they do things differently,” she told last night’s audience. “They get to know each other, they date, they have a fight, they get back together. Then they get engaged, they get married, or maybe they live together. Then they have children. We didn’t do that. We just did it other way, which is: Do you want to have a baby, yes I do. Then he looked at me, and I got pregnant. Not really … something else happened.”
As for her decision to tell the story now, nearly 30 years after that first meeting? “I figure, why not do that now,” laughed Bening. “Why wait till we’re dead?”