According to Deadline, Watts will play the role of Helen Gandy, who was Hoover's secretary for 54 years –- a woman Hoover arguably trusted more than anyone. Being his secretary gave her access to many of his personal secrets –- and the inner workings of the Bureau. After Hoover's death, it was Gandy who destroyed all of his personal files, including the infamous ones that he used to control his political enemies.
Watts had been the first choice for the role, but a scheduling conflict forced the production to look for another actress. For a time, it seemed likely that Charlize Theron would land the part, but she's since moved on to 'Snow White and the Huntsman,' where she'll play the evil queen, and is a possibility for Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus.' Meanwhile, Watts' dance card opened up, giving her the opportunity to return to the project.
The actress joins a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio as the title character, Ed Westwick as a clean-cut agent tasked with writing Hoover's biography, and Arnie Hammer as Clyde Tolson, Hoover's alleged gay lover. From the other casting details we know that the Lindbergh baby kidnapping will play a large part in the story.
The film's delving into Hoover's sexual tendencies –- the G-man may have been gay and a cross-dresser -– has many modern-day agents of the FBI up in arms. A recent article on the topic finds agents admitting that Hoover wasn't perfect but also focusing on how he really laid the foundation for modern law enforcement. It's an interesting debate; the modern media loves to focus on the sensationalistic aspects of Hoover's reign at the FBI, rarely stopping long enough to focus on anything else. In Eastwood's hands, it seems unlikely that 'J. Edgar' will be a tabloid-esque feature wallowing in lowest-common-denominator elements, and the film should be better for it. Hoover remains one of the more enigmatic figures in the history of American law enforcement. Perhaps J. Edgar will remedy that.