Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has played a number of intense characters in his career. The Academy Award-winning actor has made a career out of playing troubled and grey real-life characters such as Howard Hughes, Jordan Belfort, Frank Abignale Jr., etc. However, probably his biggest challenge came with his portrayal of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood’s biopic J. Edgar.
Hoover was known to be a very private man, especially due to his work in the Intelligence Bureau. However, there have been speculations about his personal life and there have been reports that Hoover was a homosexual and that his long-time friend Clyde Tolson was his partner. While the biopic does not make any assertions about this rumor, there was a scene in the film that reportedly hinted at the relationship.
Making Of The Leonardo DiCaprio Starrer J. Edgar
For many studios, a biopic on one of the most controversial political personalities in American history was an easy sell. J. Edgar Hoover’s life was dramatic enough to be made into countless films, and his character made an appearance in multiple media before Leonardo DiCaprio took a try at it.
However, producer Brian Grazer wanted a comprehensive biopic that covered fifty years of the controversial figure and hence spent two years with screenwriter Dustin Lance Black to work on the screenplay. Black had already worked on the Harvey Milk biopic Milk, which starred Sean Penn and had won both Black and Penn Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay, respectively.
Despite the attachment of producers Grazer and Robert Lorenz, Warner Brothers studio wanted to keep the budget down. Hence, they brought on board Clint Eastwood to direct as he was known for his efficiency in production. Lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio reportedly slashed his fee down to almost 90%. The film was made at a budget of $35 million, with the Titanic star reducing his fee from $20 million to $2 million to make it happen. J Edgar earned over $84 million at the box office.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Kissing Scene In J Edgar
Leonardo DiCaprio played the role of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover from the age of 24 to his death at the age of 77. The actor chose to wear the necessary makeup to look older, as opposed to CGI and VFX. Hence, DiCaprio had to sit through hours of makeup and prosthetics before taking the shot.
While these elements of the controversial FBI director’s life were the easier parts, the biggest problem that the production faced was the rumors surrounding Hoover’s sexuality. An incredibly private man, Hoover was suspected to be a homosexual and the director reportedly headhunted anybody who spread the rumors. He was suspected of having an affair with the assistant director Clyde Tolson, who also ended up being the heir to Hoover’s possessions after his death.
In the film, Tolson, played by Armie Hammer, and Hoover share a kiss after a fistfight. The film does not confirm or deny the rumors of Hoover’s sexuality. Eastwood mentioned to the Hollywood Reporter,
“Whether he was gay remains to be seen. But [he and Clyde Tolson] were inseparable buddies. Was that because he didn’t trust anybody else or was it a love story? I think they had a great affection; whether it was gay or not, I don’t know.”
Leonardo DiCaprio had a clearer answer, which elaborated on the relationship between Tolson and Hoover. He said,
“What you cannot doubt is that Clyde Tolson and he had a relationship that spanned most of their life; they lived with each other, had lunch and dinner, and [Hoover] left everything to Clyde. Unarguably, they were partners in some sense.”
The speculation about Hoover’s sexuality has not been confirmed. J. Edgar Hoover was reportedly a very private man and was also rumored to be a crossdresser. He was allegedly living with his mother even in his 40s.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter