Two lovely, Oscar-winning ladies are looking to appear opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort, J. Edgar. That one of those ladies is a 76-year old English thespian and the other a blonde bombshell from South Africa merely goes to show that we here at Screen Rant are not biased against great talent due to a trivial matter like age.
Dame Judi Dench’s involvement with the Hoover biopic has been confirmed by Eastwood himself, who also says that Charlize Theron is likely to officially join his project in the near future as well.
This scoop comes via Sandwich John Films, who were informed by the famously raspy-toned acting legend and now acclaimed auteur that the seemingly ubiquitous DiCaprio liked Dustin Lance Black’s J.Edgar script so much, “he actually volunteered [to star in it].” The quality of said screenplay and the opportunity to work with Eastwood understandably looks to also be enough to convince Theron to pass on terrorizing Snow White and instead play Mr. Hoover’s lifelong personal secretary, Helen Gandy instead.
Now that she’s done being hoodwinked by Jack Sparrow, Dench is set to star in Eastwood’s new film as well. James Bond’s M will join a cast including DiCaprio as FBI founder Hoover; The Social Network‘s Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson, J. Edgar’s confidant/rumored secret lover; and Australian actor Damon Herriman as Bruno Hauptmann, the convicted Lindbergh baby killer.
J. Edgar Hoover was a pivotal historical figure in the 20th Century – one whose controversial approach and methods arguably still influence contemporary U.S. national security policy. He was also known for being a highly intelligent individual who suffered from almost debilitating paranoia and kept inscrutably detailed files on a variety of artists and activists that he considered “dangerous.” DiCaprio will certainly find himself on familiar territory, playing a famous figure who begins to descend into madness as they accumulate more power and control.
Eastwood has spoken about his Hoover biopic in the past and referred to the man himself as “a very complex man… he was very clever about keeping himself in a certain position in life, so it is an interesting study.” It’s an appropriate observation and a statement that could apply to Eastwood’s own professional career even – though juxtaposing the Dirty Harry actor’s life to that of Hoover’s is like comparing apples and oranges, of course.
The 80-year old Eastwood’s preference for character-driven storytelling is a proper match for the subject matter of his Hoover biopic, which will feature a good deal of talent both in front of and behind the camera. While the director’s 2008 period drama, Changeling, was generally regarded as being too conventional to achieve masterpiece status, the film was widely lauded for its attention to details and accurate recreation of 1920s-era America. Look for J. Edgar to at least capture the atmosphere of mid-2oth century living with similar aplomb.
J. Edgar begins filming this February and looks to reach theaters by late 2011.