When word first hit that Clint Eastwood was tackling J. Edgar Hoover for a new biopic, everything was on the up and up -- a four-time Oscar winner was planning to reveal the world of America's notorious FBI founder and director. Soon after came news that three-time Oscar nominee Leonardo DiCaprio was looking to get back to the mid-twentieth century (he played Howard Hughes in 'Aviator') to play the sneaky Hoover himself.

But now the project has taken on a slightly different tone in the wake of TIFF, potentially setting this up as a comeback piece. Eastwood's latest film, 'Hereafter,' got a less than stellar response at the festival, and now he's looking to cast another buzz-laden (but talented) name who's currently making the gossip rounds: Joaquin Phoenix.

NY Magazine reports that Warner Bros. is keen to get 'Hoover' made, and all sights are set on finding Hoover's protégé, Clyde Tolson. Clint's top choice for the part is Joaquin Phoenix, the actor whose strange antics have been making waves for awhile, until Casey Affleck revealed that it was all a hoax for his new mockumentary, 'I'm Still Here.'

Written by Dustin Lance Black ('Milk'), the biopic will focus on J. Edgar and his rumored partnership with Clyde. Two very closeted men, Hoover would use his FBI muscle to intimidate those who questioned his sexuality, while Tolson was so close to Hoover that he not only worked closely with the FBI director, but also accompanied Hoover on vacations and nights out. In death, their possible relationship became even more pronounced -- Tolson received Hoover's life insurance pay-out, estate, and the flag once draped over his coffin. And just to add one more circumstantial but telling piece of evidence -- the two are buried only a few graves apart.

NY Mag wonders if this is why Affleck came clean now about Phoenix's actions -- so that it wouldn't hurt the actor's chances of landing this potentially Academy Award-worthy role. Knowing Joaquin isn't a disheveled crazy person should help, but it certainly frames the project in an interesting light -- one that could very well wipe away any ill feelings stirred up by 'Hereafter' and 'I'm Still Here.'

UPDATE: As per Anne Thompson's latest Career Watch column on Joaquin Phoenix, 'Hoover' producer Rob Lorenz has gone on record as saying there's absolutely no truth to the rumors that Phoenix will co-star in this film, and that there's never been any interest on Clint Eastwood's part to cast Phoenix.
CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical