Clint Eastwood talks new J. Edgar Hoover movie, former FBI head’s sexuality

Alec Jacobs Contributor
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As the first official movie images from “J. Edgar,” a film about the legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, were being released, director Clint Eastwood talked with Entertainment Weekly about the upcoming biopic.

Will the rumors about Hoover’s alleged love of cross-dressing be addressed? Eastwood says the film “leaves it open to interpretation.”

Rumors also swirled about Hoover’s sexuality in his day. Eastwood says he has deliberately kept Hoover’s alleged homosexuality ambiguous. “Some people might interpret it that way. Some people might say they [Hoover and his supposed lover, Clyde Tolson] were just inseparable pals. Or maybe it’s a love story without being gay, I don’t know … It was nicely written. It didn’t go to the obvious.”

Though nobody had any firm dirt on Hoover, he had plenty on everyone else. Eastwood says that’s why Hoover he remained at the helm of the FBI for nearly 50 years. “Here’s this guy starting the Bureau of Investigation, which later became the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and then goes on to stay for 48 years through eight presidents. Of course nobody could fire him, because he had something on everybody.”

In addition to DiCaprio, the film features performances from Namoi Watts as Hoover’s secretary Helen Gandy, Jeffrey Donovan as Robert F. Kennedy, Dame Judi Dench as Hoover’s mother, and Armie Hammer — famous for playing the Winklevoss twins in “The Social Network” — as Hoover’s alleged lover Clyde Tolson.

“J. Edgar” lands in theaters November 9.