Sunday, August 14, 2011

Leonardo DiCaprio moulds into J Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood biopic

A Sunday afternoon is generally regarded as a day of rest – A visit to the local church, a few ales in the local public house or even just lounging around the house after a long week at the grinder. So it was a welcome change of pace to come across the first official shots of Leonardo DiCaprio as J Edgar Hoover in the upcoming Oscar magnet, J. Edgar. A few pap shots have been filtering through the web over the last few weeks but courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, we get our first glimpse at the first G-Man and the founding figure of the FBI. My initial reaction was that DiCaprio appears to have nailed the bulldog-esque look of Hoover and aided by prosthetics, transformed himself into the prominent figure of the Bureau’s early days.

Directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Dustin Lance Black, who previously penned the 2008 Oscar Winner, Milk, this has all the appropriate boxes ticked for Oscar glory – True story {check}, Political figure winding into self-destruction {check}, potential homosexual angle {check}, an ensemble cast and iconic filmmaker at the helm {check, check}. Eyes will also be focused on the leading man in Leo DiCaprio as the lawman and there will be high hopes that after three previous Oscar nominations, the question begs; Is this Leo’s time for Oscar victory? The Inception star is, in my eyes, one of the most consistent actors working today and I have him down as potential Oscar winner come February 2012. After thus far, a staggering career of playing everyone from a cowboy gunslinger to a Boston cop, his moment isn’t far off. His previous track record does include him playing real-life figures such as Frank Abagnale Jr (Catch Me If You Can) and of course, arguably his best performance in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, playing the complex yet staggering Howard Hughes.

Eastwood, who does enjoy dabbling into the real world of moviemaking with his previous crowd-pleasing yet stuffy biopic, Invictus will bring to light the turbulent career of the troubled director of the FBI. The film will track from his early years when he was appointed the head of the Bureau in 1924, building the very first unified police force before slowly surrendering to psychological issues later in his life and rumoured as a cross dressing homosexual who developed a personal relationship with his associate director, Clyde Tolson (played by The Social Network's Armie Hammer).

I get the feeling that the Million Dollar Baby director will cram a large proportion of Hoover’s main events across his almost fifty year career of being the face of America’s law enforcement. But went from hero to villain in the eyes of many American’s who perceived him as a tyrant and that all is power in the end got to his head. It appears to have all the ingredients for something special and with an impressive supporting cast that includes Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas and Judi Dench, this has an Oscar stamp firmly across it.

One slight criticism though. Clint Eastwood has a brisk pace on set usually but it seems with J. Edgar he is taking time on this one. The images that were released today have been the sole feature to come from his biopic. No teaser trailers have yet to surface leaving people slightly in the dark. Clearly Warner Bros. have their own intentions and putting all their Oscar hopes behind J. Edgar to become one of the prominent films to feature in the 2012 Academy Awards. After the veteran filmmaker’s last poor turn Hereafter, he is in no rush to promote his next feature film in a hurry.

For all you lucky American’s, J. Edgar will open on US screens on 9th November 2011. Us slightly more unlucky folk in the UK have yet to see a release date confirmed with it rumoured to be released early 2012.

Written by Michael Cunneen