Anyone who wondered this weekend if Dick Tracy knew how to use Zoom now has a definitive answer.
Late Friday night, Turner Classic Movies aired a mysterious new show called “Dick Tracy Special: Tracy Zooms In,” in which Warren Beatty reprises his role as the iconic detective from the 1990 film of the same name. Donning the character’s signature yellow jacket and hat, Tracy takes part in a Zoom call with TCM hosts Ben Mankiewicz and Leonard Maltin to talk about her life and express her displeasure with Beatty’s film. (In this universe, Beatty Dick Tracy is a real person who exists separately from the movie “Dick Tracy” and only It looks like he is the same actor who played him in the movie where “Dick” spoke the first TCM special from 2010.)
The three men watch several clips from the film together before deciding to call Beatty to settle Tracy’s complaints once and for all. Beatty then joins the call as himself, where he eventually reconciles with Tracy and they agree to have a more cooperative relationship in case Beatty makes a sequel.
Although the special was previewed on TCM, it received no social media promotion and came as a surprise to even the channel’s most die-hard fans. Many immediately began speculating that the show was created to allow Beatty to retain the legal rights to the character. Beatty bought the rights to make the Dick Tracy films from Tribune Media in 1985, but Tribune tried to take them over in 2002. This led to a lengthy series of lawsuits that led to Beatty appearing in the first TCM special. Titled the “Dick Tracy Special,” Matlin interviewed Beatty’s Tracy in a “Larry King Live”-style setting. In 2011, a United States District Court ruled that with the special recording, Beatty had done enough work on the character to prevent the rights from reverting to their original owner.
Sources confirmed to IndieWire that Beatty approached TCM about making the second special, likely due to his rights nearing expiration.
Beatty has always been outspoken about his desire to make a “Dick Tracy” sequel, and even claimed in 2016 that he was planning the film. The 85-year-old actor’s only film since 2001 was the 2016 Howard Hughes film “Rules.” Don’t Apply,” so fans probably shouldn’t hold their breath for “Dick Tracy 2.” But at least now Beatty won’t have any legal hurdles if he tries to make the film.
Additional reporting by Christian Blauvelt.
You can watch “Dick Tracy Special: Tracy Zooms In” below.