Los Angeles -- There is a scene in "Bugsy" that proves a meal doesn't have to be hot to be spicy.
Warren Beatty -- playing the title role -- and Annette Bening, as Bugsy's girlfriend Virginia Hill, engage in some post-dinner lovemaking that is so erotically charged, so believable, that surely it must have been ad-libbed. Tell this to Bening and she shakes her head of chestnut-colored Mary Pickford curls.
"Oh, no," she says, appalled at the idea. "No, that scene was entirely scripted. Everything was scripted." She begins to giggle, a laugh that sounds eerily like machine gun fire. "Well . . . almost everything."
Ms. Bening, 33, glances down at her bulging tummy. At this moment, sitting in a Los Angeles hotel nook, she is days away from the due date for the baby girl Mr. Beatty fathered, and she is radiant beyond belief.
While "Bugsy" was the duo's first collaboration, it certainly won't be their last. Ms. Bening is now living in Mr. Beatty's Mulholland Drive estate, and Warren, she jokes, wants 12 more kids; she'd settle for three or four.
She and Mr. Beatty are mad about each other, she confirms. "When I saw the movie," she says, "I thought, 'Yeah, I believe these people are in love.' "
The coupling of America's hot new screen sensation and Hollywood's most eligible bachelor is a rather bizarre storybook romance. Ironies abound. More than just a gangster epic, "Bugsy" is a story about a crazed womanizer who finally meets his female match and stops chasing skirts. It seems the real-life Beatty-Bening union has followed the story line word for word.
"There's nothing to hide about the relationship," he says. "I feel fine about it. I couldn't feel better about being a father."
"Warren has changed," says Ms. Bening. "You can see that. He is very happy. He's going to be a great father."
As for Ms. Bening herself, who received an Academy Award nomination for "The Grifters," having a child "is something I've always thought about since I was a little kid. It's a joy to come to this point. Now, me -- who was always so caught up in the work -- people send me scripts and I lose them! I can't find them around the house, and I don't give a damn. It's really, really liberating."
"I'm even going to change diapers," the Once Most Dangerous Man in Hollywood adds. "Maybe I'm naive about it, but I don't have any fears over that chore at all."