The fall movie season is less than a month away and with the shorter days and chillier nights Hollywood enters it’s “serious” season. The prestige picture extravaganza will begin with the triple threat of festivals in less than three weeks, Venice, Telluride and Toronto. However, there are a few films currently skipping those early showcases in hopes of awards season glory later one. One is the increasingly curious biopic “J. Edgar.”
Directed by Clint Eastwood from a Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”) screenplay, the Warner Bros. release finds Leonardo DiCaprio stepping into the not so comfortable shoes of arguably one of the more feared men of the 20th Century, longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. EW has a few new images from the picture and spoke to Eastwood, Black and DiCaprio about the November release. The look of the film is expectedly in Eastwood’s period wheelhouse (think “The Changeling”), but it’s the revelation of the ambiguous take on Hoover’s rumored gay or bisexuality that’s really news. In fact, anyone hoping the long-rumored relationship between Hoover and his Associate FBI director Clyde Tolson (“The Social Network’s” Armie Hammer) will be made clear will be disappointed. Eastwood told the mag he’s leaving it “open for interpretation.”
The four-time Academy Award winner noted, “Some people might say [they] were just inseparable pals. Or maybe it”s a love story without being gay, I don”t know. But it”s very interesting, the way Lance laid out the script. It was nicely written. It didn”t go to the obvious.”
Strange considering all the questions Hammer has answered publicly about his onscreen peck with DiCaprio. No one would ever expect Eastwood to pull an Oliver Stone on the subject, but this clarification makes the finished project even more curious.
As for the rest of the film, everyone associated with it says it certainly goes to a dark place toward the end of Hoover’s life. DiCaprio has played one of the more notorious crackpots of that era already, Howard Hughes in “The Aviator.” It will be interesting to see how he portrays Hoover in his later, “bizarre, highly paranoid” years.
“J. Edgar” opens in limited release on Nov. 9 and expands nationwide on Nov. 11.
For year round entertainment commentary and awards season analysis follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter @HitFixGregory.