By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 9, 2011 at 5:02AM
Dustin Lance Black Says Story Won't Be De-Gayed For The Big Screen; Photos Of Judi Dench Arrive Too
We told you Clint Eastwood moves fast. It seems only moments ago that Eastwood had firmed up the major roles for "J. Edgar" and what do you know, filming is already underway.
MTV and JustJared have revealed the first snaps of Leonardo DiCaprio in costume and on set in
"Newsies 2" "J. Edgar," and well, he certainly knows how to wear an old timey suit and ride an old timey bike well. The film will be a career-spanning tale of the controversial former FBI director who is infamous for his closeted homosexuality and tendency to cross-dress. There has been much speculation about how hot 'n heavy (or not) the film will get with these aspects of the story, but screenwriter Dustin Lance Black says that any worries that the film will be de-gayed are misplaced, but just don't expect Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer to be mincing around in dresses and heels.
In an interview with AfterElton, Black says the approach to Hoover's sexuality is likely to be a bit more subtle, but it will be there. "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," said Black. "It’s unfounded [the idea that the movie is being de-gayed.]"
Much of these worries about the supposed stripping of homosexuality in the film come from Eastwood's recent comments to the Wall Street Journal in which he says the film doesn't "quite go down that road." But as quite known by now, Eastwood never deviates or changes anything from the scripts he's given. As Black notes, the script that is out there and easily found, is the one that Eastwood is using, and it's in plain black and white how the sexuality is portrayed.
"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. I agree with that. It won’t be going into anything that is a gay stereotype, especially that was used in that day to bash gay men. It won’t be going into that because it’s not accurate and it’s not true. It will deal with sexuality in a far more human, realistic way."
Indeed, as our review of the script last year pointed out, the relationship between Hoover and his supposed lover Clyde Tolson is definitely present, but also handled with a nuanced hand: "Due to Hoover's deeply closeted nature, however, the relationship [with Clyde Tolson] is never consummated; when Tolson makes a move on his boss, the two even come to blows. It's clearly the most important relationship in the script, and the emotional hinge of the piece. Hoover's sexuality is the driving force of the film, and you couldn't miss it, but its treatment is quite subtle, for the most part, and some of the grandstanding from 'Milk' has been toned down."
We definitely think this has the potential to be an intriguing piece and it certainly has a top-rate cast with DiCaprio and Hammer being joined by Naomi Watts as Hoover's personal secretary Helen Gandy; Josh Lucas as famed aviator Charles Lindbergh; Ed Westwick as Agent Smith, an operative gifted with writing skills; Damon Herriman as Bruno Hauptmann, the man convicted of kidnapping and killing the Lindbergh baby; Judi Dench as Hoover’s mother; and Ken Howard as lawyer and jurist Harlan F. Stone, who served as the 52nd Attorney General of the United States.
Dench photos via HeyYouGuys.