CATEGORIES Movie NewsDuring a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, director Clint Eastwood was asked if his highly anticipated biopic about former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover addressed "reports by former FBI employees that Hoover was a cross-dresser and perhaps a closeted homosexual." The director said he was attracted to the screenplay because it "didn't quite go down that road," perhaps implying that Hoover's rumored sexuality might be glossed over in the film.
Now, in an interview with AfterElton, 'J. Edgar' screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2009 for 'Milk,' has come forward to deny that the film doesn't address the issue. "To think that somehow you're going to a make a movie about somebody like J. Edgar and you're not going to learn what's in his heart, that's just not going to happen in a script that I write," Black said.
In Eastwood's film, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Hoover. It has long been speculated that Hoover was intimately involved with his right-hand man and protégé, Clyde Tolson, who will be portrayed by 'The Social Network' star Armie Hammer.
Black believes that the paper misinterpreted Eastwood's words and that the director meant something else with his "didn't quite go down that road" comment.
"I think he's referring to the fact that he's not going into the stereotypes of who Hoover was because they are clownish, they are comic book and they reek of homophobia and he's not going to do that," Black told AfterElton. "It will deal with sexuality in a far more human, realistic way ... I think one of the things he's saying is, it's one part of a very complicated man and its one piece of a very complicated history. To make a movie that's just about whether or not Hoover put on dresses would be an incredible slight to history."
The implication that Hoover's rumored homosexuality would not be addressed surprised many because reports from the set indicated that it was an important part of the story.
In March, E! reported that Hammer and DiCaprio had filmed a kissing scene. "It was on Friday when they had their kissing scene, and it was very passionate," a source told E! "They wanted to make it right. It's a more involved scene than just the kissing ... It was so sexy."
E!'s source corroborates a previous statement by Black that the film included romantic scenes. "Yes, certainly there's a relationship between these two guys," Black told the network at Elton John's Academy Awards party. "And it wouldn't be a Dustin Lance Black script if it didn't have a little gay kissing in it. So the answer is yes."
For his part, Hammer joked about the scenes at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards, saying, "It's not a kissing scene – it's a ton of kissing scenes." Of filming intimate scenes with DiCaprio, he then added, "He's a talented actor. I'm not nervous or afraid of it being awkward. The script is great. The scenes are in there for a reason. I'm really excited."
Whether Eastwood was again down-playing the gay storyline or meant it was being explored in a non-exploitive manner (or if he intends to minimize it in editing) remains unclear. What seems clear now is that it is present in Black's script and that the actors appear to have filmed romantic scenes. Are those scenes going to land on the cutting-room floor? We'll find out later this year when 'J. Edgar' makes its way to theaters.