Dustin Lance Black penned the Oscar-winning script for director Gus Van Sant’s Harvey Milk biopic, Milk. The writer will tackle the life of another famous historical figure in his next screenplay, Hoover, which is set to be directed by Clint Eastwood.
Black spoke with Movieline near the end of last week’s Toronto International Film Festival and confirmed that Leonardo DiCaprio is set to play J. Edgar Hoover. He went on to reveal that he has completed his script for Hoover and that filming is scheduled to begin early next year.
While Black did not elaborate on rumors that Joaquin Phoenix may join Hoover as well, he did offer an interesting tidbit concerning the structure of the film:
” ‘Hoover’ is not as linear and traditional as Milk – but it didn’t need to be… People know Hoover – or think they know Hoover – and that’s great as a writer because you’re free as a writer to explore other stuff…”
Black went on to reveal that Hoover will be told from the perspective of the F.B.I. founder and that he believes “Hoover never let anyone in. And because of that – and the contradiction between what he believes his history was and what his history actually was – it [the 'Hoover' screenplay] lends itself to a less-traditional structure.”
Hoover was a controversial public official who was long rumored to have been – among other things – a closeted homosexual and cross-dresser in his personal life. Black’s screenplay may either touch directly on these issues or could focus more on Hoover’s career with the F.B.I., leaving the hot topic issues concerning the man’s personal life open to interpretation.
Eastwood is a generally reliable filmmaker and it will be interesting to see what approach he and Black take to the life of Hoover. Their project sounds intriguing and has the potential to be more than just another run-of-the-mill biopic – it may offer some legitimate insight into the mental workings of a most fascinating individual.
Hoover begins filming early next year and should arrive in theaters by late 2011.