At the end of March is was announced that Leo DiCaprio was in talks to take the title role in Clint Eastwood’s biopic of former FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover. However after that, news went quiet on whether he’d actually take the role, but that’s changed, with Deadline now confirming that Leo will indeed take the lead role, and that Eastwood plans to start filming later this year.
Although we normally now think of Hoover as an older man who was rather pudgy, the film will start off chronicling his earlier, slimmer days. After all, Hoover co-founded the FBI in 1935, when he was only 40, to help deal with the increasingly difficult battle against gangsters like John Dillinger, and by that time he already had a formidable reputation in the battle against organised crime. He remained the head of the bureau until his death in 1972.
While he revolutionised US law enforcement and became a legendary figure, he was also very controversial, harassing dissenters and using underhanded tactics against those who opposed his ideas, including building illegal files on senior politicians that he could use against them. Many also suggest he was a closeted homosexual and cross dresser, although apparently this isn’t reflected in the film. That said, with the movie’s screewriter, Dustin Lance Black (Milk), being a passionate gay rights advocate, it’ll be interesting to see how he handles Hoover’s penchant for using people’s sexuality, or just the hint they might be gay, to smear them (many have said the cross-dressing claims stemmed from people using Hoover’s own tactics against him).