First Look: Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio in 'J. Edgar' -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS


Image Credit: Keith Bernstein

No kid says he wants to be J. Edgar Hoover when he grows up.

He was America’s Top Cop for five decades, but somewhere along the line, the FBI founder went from protector to tyrant in the minds of many Americans.

Hoover unified the federal police force, helped popularize fingerprints and other forensic evidence… then went sadly astray, abusing his power, manipulating elected officials and, most damningly, wiretapping and intimidating civil rights leaders. That tragic arc is at the heart of director Clint Eastwood’s drama, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the notorious G-man.

“I started to become curious about the ‘why,’” says screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, Oscar-winner for 2008’s Milk. “He did wonderful things for this country, but why did he ended up doing so many things that were heinous and harmful? I think it was all in the name of trying to fill that void, where love goes, with public admiration. This is a guy who from his earliest years was told he could never express the love he felt.”

Was Hoover was gay or straight? The movie leaves it open to interpretation, according to Eastwood, but one thing is undeniable — he was an achingly solitary man. And there was far more to him than that.

See more photos below …


Image Credit: keith

“Well, I grew up with Hoover in the 30’s and 40’s as The G-man,” says Eastwood. “He was always the authority; always sort of the top cop. Certainly the FBI was considered somewhat revered, and [we were] somewhat in awe, I guess. When you talk to FBI agents now who’ve worked with him, they all have different opinions of him. A lot of them liked Hoover very much, liked working for him very much.”

The movie J. Edgar tracks him from his early days, building the FBI into an actual law enforcement agency, instead of the powerless entity they were before.

“They were just guys going around asking questions. Almost like reporters, trying to create a story to give to the localized police, and the police are the ones that had all the power,” says DiCaprio. “It was almost like our country was fractioned off into little city-states that have their own jurisdiction, and here comes a man that creates a federal police force where you’re held accountable in our country for your actions and your deeds.”

He also pushed for a federal fingerprints database, and helped popularize the use of scientific evidence to convict criminals. “We’re not simply relying on testimony from eyewitnesses that can often be misleading and can take you in different directions,” DiCaprio says. “He brought forensics into it. The modernized way that we convict people and people are put on to trial and the evidence we use is all a result of the way J. Edgar Hoover designed the FBI.”

Then of course, after amassing so much power, things went astray …


Image Credit: Keith Bernstein

“Here’s this guy starting the Bureau of Investigation, which later became the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and then goes on to stay for 48 years through eight presidents,” Eastwood says. “Of course nobody could fire him, because he had something on everybody.”

But what did they have on him?

Practically nothing, actually — apart from rumor and innuendo.

“He knew what he could do to everybody else by finding out what their life was like, but on the same token, everything in his life was pretty much kept between he and Helen Gandy and Clyde Tolson,” said Eastwood, referring to the Associate FBI Director, rumored to be Hoover’s lover, played by The Social Network‘s Armie Hammer (pictured above.) Gandy, Hoover’s secretary, is played in the film by Naomi Watts, filling out that secretive FBI triumvirate.

While the screenwriter, Black, believes it was Hoover’s suppressed sexuality that twisted him into the ultimate control freak with ultimate enforcement power, the screenplay keeps things somewhat ambiguous. After all, the premise is that failing to be able to feel something for another person is what warped Hoover, leading him to see everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Robert F. Kennedy as enemies of the state.

Eastwood says he didn’t want to make a definitive statement about whether Hoover was gay, since that history is far from certain: “Some people might interpret it that way. Some people might say [he and Tolson] 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.”


Image Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS; Keith Bernstein

DiCaprio plays Hoover into his bulldog-esque later years with prosthetic makeup, though it was never easy getting into the man’s skin, especially as the lawman became the outlaw.

“I think that he was always an outsider,” says the actor. “I think that’s what this story is about, how he sort of lost touch towards the end of his life, to say the least.” By the time he died, DiCaprio says, Hoover was obsessed with “pretty far-fetched, bizarre, highly paranoid stuff.”

Oh, Leo, if Hoover were alive today, you’d be so wire-tapped right now.

For more film news, follow Anthony Breznican on Twitter: @Breznican.

Read More:
Clint Eastwood’s ‘J. Edgar': CinemaCon premieres clip starring Leonardo DiCaprio

Comments (85 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3
  • ed

    Once again: DiCaprio playing a role he is too youthful-looking for. I almost feel bad for him. He tried to bulk up to get rid of the baby face but it just makes him look swollen. He’s a decent-enough actor but needs to quit getting roles he isn’t fit for.

    • UGH

      I totally agree. He could’ve taken the easy money with those looks and made some easy cash-grab films for young girls and whatnot but I have some respect for the guy tackling more serious roles but he seems wrong for a lot of the roles he chooses.

      • Juan

        But most of the time he kills the role, and makes it work. Even if he looks young, he does do the part well. That’s my opinion anyway.

      • MattyB

        I agree with Juan. His baby face may distract a little at first, but he always sinks in and pulls me along with him. For an actor with such an iconic face, his ability to disappear into a role always amazes me. I can’t wait to see him as Hoover (and to see him under Eastwood’s beautifully subtle direction).

      • tangw

        It would be nice if it said when the movie actually comes out.I am an Air Force and single at present .I need a woman who can love me
        back ..I also uploaded my hot photos on —-Military’Loves .C óM— under
        the name of mason66..It’s the largest and best club for seeking Army, Navy,
        Marines, Air Force, Police Force, and the admirers of those who wear the
        uniform.I just hope you don’t mind me being a soldier …Please Check it
        out!I’m serious.~

      • obviously an idiot

        Yes I agree with UGH. He should do more roles like a male version of Freak Friday or he could’ve been the lead for The Change-Up or even part of the Power Rangers gang.

    • DGH

      I don’t care how he looks as long as he nails the performance thats all that matters.(and he usually does)

    • oui tu peux

      stop only looking at the appearance it is sooo not the most important thing in life!

  • Greed

    Please, not every pair of close guys are gay – Frodo and Sam, Bert and Ernie are not gay. As for this movie, it looks interesting, but nothing will ever top the greatest film Leo was ever a part of – INCEPTION.

    • Bobby’s Robot

      Um…you know hobbits and muppets aren’t real, right?

    • catherine

      Anyway, Bert and Ernie are not gay. Ernie has a thing for his rubberducky and Bert has a thing for his self loathing and Cosby sweaters

      • D

        Bert also loves pigeons. Just sayin…

    • Nathan

      I can name 5 Leo flicks better than Inception right now:
      Gangs of New York
      The Aviator
      Catch Me if You Can
      Shutter Island and of course
      The Departed
      Django Unchained will be better than Inception too without a doubt.

      • m1

        Catch Me If You Can? Really?

      • MattyB

        @m1: yeah, really. Catch Me If You can is a terrific movie. It’s charming, funny and touching. And Leo is great in it. He’s, like, 30 playing 16…and he pulls it off! It’s miles better than the cool murk of Inception (which I also liked, just not as much).

      • m1

        I thought the first hour or so of that movie was wonderful, but Spielberg didn’t seem to know whether to make it a thriller or comedy or whatever else. I also thought DiCaprio was miscast in the role.

      • SueN

        Replace Catch Me If You Can with What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and you have a great list.

      • sean

        catch me if you can is definitely great.

      • denverreddevil

        ok Nathan, just gotta say it
        Shutter Island was right up there with Armageddon as two of the worst movies I’ve ever seen…

      • oui tu peux

        I can’t believe you’ve forgetten Titanic, this movies is not just one of his best movies, it is one of the best movies in general!!! and the basketball diaries too its sooo goood i love DiCapriooo so much, he could play in the worst movies ever but the single thougt of him playing in that movies would make it great!! exept for crittle 3 that wasn’t the best movie I would say.. :)

  • tundraaim

    agreed – Blood Diamond, The Aviator, Gangs of New York – he looks too young – imagine Blood Diamond with Hugh Jackman, The Aviator with Warren Beatty (1970s), or Colin Farrell in Gangs of New York – big improvements

    • michael

      In Gangs of New York, his character was a teen/early 20s, so he was a great fit. In the Aviator his character (Howard Hughes) was a pretty playboy – DiCaprio was perfect for the role (besides 1970s Beatty or 1940s Bogard would not be feasible options for a 2004 movie :) ). Blood Diamond could have worked with another actor, I will give you that… but Jackman? Come on now!

    • DGH

      Except Leo can run circles around those fellows when it comes to acting.

    • MattyB

      No way would Colin Farrelll be a better lead in Gangs of NY! I like Farrell, but he doesn’t have DeCaprio’s gravity as an actor. And that was a heavy, heavy role.

      • Bill

        Yeah, but Collin Farrell has an Irish accent. Leo’s sounded too much of a Hollywood Irish accent.

    • Ali

      Is it wise to three separate xasuel relations if you have HIV. They obtained? Hen the chance of spreading the virus to more people, even if you do, condoms, much can go wrong. It’s just something I think w? Rde when I was up. I hope you are honest with them aussi? About your status.

  • Elizabeth

    It would be nice if it said when the movie actually comes out.

    • Dr. Lola Spratt

      November 9, 2011

      • Elizabeth (different one)

        I was thinking the same thing. Thanks Dr. Lola.

  • mike

    Why is it that historical figures that are believed to be gay have this aspect of their lives swept under the rug for entertainment purposes, and the filmmakers deny this important aspect of their character with “that history is far from certain.”? Give me a break! If it is so uncertain why does everyone know about it? I bet the upcoming Lincoln film does the same cop out.

    • SC

      Lincoln is not widely believed to have been gay. That’s some people’s speculation.

    • BG

      You speak in certainty, of which there is none. People suppose, guess, speculate, wonder, but no one knows whether any of the rumors were true. The public’s belief in a persons homosexuality does not make it a fact, and it would be irresponsible of the film makers to posit it as fact.

    • Sharon

      I agree with you what decade is this why is that aspect Hoover’s life not to be touched upon in this movie? My parents have 2 friends who worked with Hoover and yes he was gay but only had one relationship with Tolson. I’m surprised Eastwood is not being forthcoming. Nothing to be ashamed of.

      • DGH

        Well since Sharon knows a friend of a friend who’s friend told them that Hoover was gay it must be fact.

      • babetido

        There is nothing to be ashamed of or to hide if he was gay. But he and his partner (if any) had/have never said that they were gay. Therefore it is just speculation/rumor.

    • Mara

      In my opinion, if they focus too much on his personal struggles, it could have the unintentional result of excusing the actions of a man who caused lots of harm to hundreds of people and even ruined lives through his actions.

      • WCM

        Of course you know of no instances where he brought harm to anyone who didn’t deserve it.

      • Regia

        AnansieDeSpider AnansieDeSpiderHaben Anansie you read that gold, somewhere you think? I do not rmmeeber reading in the Bible. And you kind of artificial stone Scripture out of context Used torn the women in this story regretted her doing wrong. She was not in error, some thats what they did was ok. But I agree with you atlkinkyboi These were thin? TIG and inflammatory? Comments Friends rural stations. You can k? Goal must speak the truth in love.

  • Justin Poppiti

    “This is a guy who from his earliest years was told he could never express the love he felt.”

    I assume the screenwriter is alluding to Hoover’s alleged homosexuality. Alas, even if he was a repressed homosexual, the fact that he was repressed does not account for his rephrensible actions. It really seems like Hoover was a bad guy, for the most part, that was drunk woth power.

  • Tully

    Looking forward to see another Clint Eastwood (directed) movie. DiCaprio is fine, he’s older now.

  • heej

    ” for five decades, but somewhere along the line”

    power corrupts

  • obihave

    Leave Leo alone…he wants an Oscar SO BAD!

    • kyle

      Don’t know how BAD he wants one but The Academy has no credibility until he gets one.

      • irene

        Leo has deserved one at least 4 times, gilbert grape, departed, blood diamond, titanic, and soooo on

  • ben

    Why do people still question the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio? He’s one of the best actors of our time with Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, etc. and people still don’t buy into it. There is a reason he chooses roles like this, The Departed, Blood Diamond, etc. So he escape the pretty boy persona he was branded after Titanic and Romeo + Juliet. Robert Pattinson is currently in the state where he does movies that are mainly chick-flick level. Leo wants to be taken seriously and I don’t see a rom-com with him in the future.

    • UGH

      Yeah, but Robert Pattinson can’t act his way out of a paper bag.

      • Bis


  • Iggy

    I’m there,Eastwood & DiCaprio, nuff said.I wonder if they will focus on the JFK administration?

  • ben

    Look at the people who won before. Adrien Brody won for The Pianist (even though Daniel-Day Lewis should’ve won for Gangs of New York) and then made The Village (WTH). Cuba Gooding Jr. won in 1996 for Jerry Maguire (again, wrong over Edward Norton and WIlliam H. Macy for Primal Fear and Fargo respectively) and he has made terrible movies ever since (I’m not counting As Good As It Gets). Robin Williams used to make great movies and now just signs on to any movie. Jamie Foxx won for Ray and then does Stealth (WTF). If he’s tyring to win an Oscar, then it is only for all of the mistakes the Oscars made. Also, the people who don’t won Oscars or never been nominated make better movies or give better performances (i.e. Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Edward Norton, Kerry Washington, etc.).

    • GHB

      Disagree with you Ben… Adrien Brody deserved that Oscar

      • Nathan

        Daniel Day should have had that one by a mile.

      • m1

        I haven’t seen Gangs of New York, but definitely think that Brody was amazing in The Pianist. One of my favorite lead performances.

      • obviously an idiot

        Wasnt Day-Lewis nominated for supporting in Gangs of New York? Brody was lead in The Pianist. Also I don’t agree with Ben. Look at Kevin Spacey (2 Oscars and still doing great), Goerge Clooney (1 Oscar, two f*cking cool movies coming out this year) Meryl Streep, Matt Damon (not for acting but he does have 1) and so many more. Ben picked the few people who have won an Oscar and haven’t done a role as challenging. There are lots of people who win one and keep doing great- actually Day-Lewis himself is a great example! I’m betting he’ll win at least one more before he retires. He’s a f*cking beast when it comes to acting. Idk how many people will agree/disagree but personally, I thought his performance in There Will Be Blood is the best of all-time. Many come close, no doubt. But he’s like a tour de force (sorry for the cliche but idk, can’t think of a better expression right now).

    • Jose

      While Day Lewis was a supporting character in Gangs of New York, he was nominated for best lead actor.

  • Lauren

    Leo is definitely one of the best actors out there! He NEEDS to win an oscar, hopefully he will with this one. He has done so many great films and even if you weren’t a big fan of a movie in particular, his acting is always top notch.

    • Karl

      Does Leo think he needs an Oscar to validate his body of work?

  • madison

    YES, I’m so excited for this movie! I absolutely love Leo’s movie choices. The departed and gangs of new York are two of my favorites and I know this is gonna be legen….wait for it…..dary!!

  • starry night

    I think Leonardo DiCaprio is a wonderful actor and I can’t wait to see this movie!

Page: 1 2 3
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos in Movies


From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by VIP