Why Didn't Warren Beatty Ever Run for Office? It's 'More Like Running for Crucifixion,' He Says

"I will confess to having been flattered at being kicked around as a possibility"

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Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty

Warren Beatty may have played a senator in 1998’s Bulworth, but don’t expect life to imitate art when it comes to politics.

The 79-year-old actor and political activist — who has supported Democratic presidential candidates including Robert Kennedy, George McGovern and Jimmy Carter — has never run for office, and he’s just fine with that.

“What people who volunteer for public service now are subjected to in the media, I’ve grown to think that to run for office is more like running for crucifixion,” he tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “And in some sense, I think the ranks are dwindling of those who are willing to subject themselves to that.”

Although Beatty has been heavily involved in politics, the pain it has caused others has been enough to keep him away.

“I will confess to having been flattered at being kicked around as a possibility, but I had seen so many close friends go through such agonies,” he says. “Gary Hart, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, look what happened to Bobby and Jack [Kennedy]! I knew all of them.”

For much more from Warren Beatty, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

He continues, “I began to feel that the automatic animosity that attends seeking position … I felt that if you had something to say, maybe you can say it better when you are not seeking a majority vote.”

His prescient political satire Bulworth, in which he played a disillusioned senator who starts speaking his mind after ordering his own murder, did just that.

As for Beatty’s feelings about President-elect Donald Trump?

“Don’t start me. Anyone who would be interested in my feelings would know my feelings.”

  • Reporting by CHRIS NASHAWATY
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