A liberal Democrat, Beatty recently directed, produced, co-wrote and acted in the satirical movie Bulworth about a senator who causes a sensation when he speaks the truth.
Beatty has long been actively involved in the Democratic Party, but he's reportedly not enthusiastic about Vice President Al Gore and former Senator Bill Bradley, the two current rivals for the Democratic nomination. If Beatty makes a bid for the presidency, he says he'll run as a liberal alternative or on the Reform Party ticket.
He's already had discussions with liberal political consultants such as Steve Cobble, a former political director for Jesse Jackson's National Rainbow Coalition, and Robert Borosage.
"He's thinking about it very seriously," says Ellen Miller, an advocate for campaign finance reform and head of the Washington group Public Campaign.
Beatty told the Times he has very strong feelings about campaign finance reform. "Its tentacles reach into every other issue," Beatty said. "I fear we're getting closer to a plutocracy than we want to, and I believe that deep down the people want to do something about that."
Without extensive experience in politics, Beatty would be considered a dark horse. Still, entertainers who have successfully made the switch to politics include Ronald Reagan and Jesse Ventura.
In Bulworth, Beatty plays a senator who is disheartened at how politicians can be bought by campaign contributors.
Neither Vice President Al Gore or Bill Bradley have commented on possible competition from Beatty.