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.
HH: I am looking forward to this flick. Eastwood has proven to be an excellent director, the storyline is full of intrique and about an important American figure, and the casting is an interesting choice as well - DiCaprio showing range.
Image Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS; Keith Bernstein