Having already tackled the life story one high-profile but equally controversial public figure – Harvey Milk for director Gus Van Sant’s Milk – screenwriter Dustin Lance Black is now turning his sights to J. Edgar Hoover, according to Pajiba.
Hoover was played – with great success in my book – on the big screen recently by Billy Crudup in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, but has never himself been the subject of a grand biopic, though his life would certainly dictate it. He founded the FBI and remained as its director until his death in 1972, taking all kinds of politicians and mobsters (who can tell the difference?) down along the way.
The movie, to be called Hoover, is being developed by Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, and as of yet no director has been attached (though Howard himself would seem to be a logical choice.) Hit the jump to find out some details about Hoover’s seamier side that will surely make their way into Black’s script.
Along with being an ace crime fighter, J. Edgar Hoover was also rumored to be a closet homosexual (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and even possibly a cross-dresser. Though nothing has ever been proven, speculation has centered on associate FBI Director Clyde Tolson as his lover. When Hoover died, he left his estate to Tolson, and they are buried a few yards away from each other in the Congressional Cemetery.
As for the cross-dressing, per Wikipedia (because I – like everyone else – don’t have any firsthand knowledge of this stuff), Anthony Summers, in his 1993 biography “Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover,” quoted “society divorcee” (and convicted perjurer) Susan Rosensteil as saying she had seen Hoover engaging in cross-dressing in the 1950s at “homosexual orgies.”
What’s the truth? I have no idea, but I’m certain Black will somehow work all this into his script for Hoover and, given how he treated Milk, I expect it to be part of a fully fleshed-out portrait of the man that will manage to either anger or enthrall you, depending on just what kind of baggage you bring into the viewing experience. Definitely stay tuned for more on this.