News / Arts & Entertainment

    'J. Edgar' Centers on Controversial FBI Director

    Penelope Poulou

    Academy award-winning filmmaker Clint Eastwood has teamed up with actor Leonardo DiCaprio on J. Edgar, a biopic of the former FBI head, J.Edgar Hoover, who died in 1972. The film focuses on J.Edgar's controversial personality. It follows him as he made the Federal Bureau of Investigations into one of the country's most powerful agencies and became one of the most powerful political figures of his time.

    The plot spans more than 50 years, eight presidencies and three wars. It portrays Hoover as a Macchiavelian figure who believes that the end justifies the means.

    He systematically collects information on U.S. citizens and politicians. No one is above suspicion.



    J.Edgar:
    "Do you remember that file we created on his wife?"
    Helen Gandy: "Mrs. Roosevelt?"
    J.Edgar: "You make a copy for me please?"
    Tolson, J.Egar's no.2:  "Is that legal?"
    J.Edgar: "Sometimes you need to bend the rules a little in order to keep your country safe."

    Clint Eastwood some parts of the film are dramatic license. But, he says, much about Hoover's Federal Bureau of Investigation and the power it wielded is corroborated.  

    Clint Eastwood right, and Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of "J. Edgar"
    Clint Eastwood right, and Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of "J. Edgar"

    "He was a very important figure, the top federal cop, and he probably was the most powerful guy in the country," Eastwood says.

    The film alleges Hoover collected information on political figures like President John F. Kennedy, with wire taps.

    It shows him using the transcripts as political leverage. Motivated by his fear of communism,  Hoover  tries to convince Attorney General Robert Kennedy to step up political surveillance of Americans. 

    Bullying aside, the film portrays Hoover as a public relations expert who mingled in Hollywood and  exaggerated his achievements.

    Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover in "J. Edgar"
    Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover in "J. Edgar"

    But Eastwood also shows him as a visionary, whose forensics led to the arrest of the likes of John Dillinger, a notorious gangster of the 1930s.

    And the film digs into Hoover's emotional make up. We see young J. Edgar idolizing his mother, who fuels his ambitions.  

    The film also addresses rumors about J.Edgar Hoover's sexual orientation.

    Hoover's deputy, Clyde Tolson, is shown with the FBI head to the end.    

    Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, that after he wrote the screenplay for Milk, about gay activist Harvey Milk, he became intrigued with Hoover.

    "I had just done the whole story how coming out of the closet and embracing your nature can give great hope, and I wondered what's the other side of that," Black explains. "And I felt we potentially could benefit from learning and creating this cautionary tale about a man who denied love."   

    Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer in "J. Edgar"
    Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer in "J. Edgar"

    Leonardo DiCaprio offers a daring performance.   

    "This is an incredibly important American figure to take on," notes DiCaprio, "and so we needed the immense amount of research that Lance had done beforehand and I think he needed my interpretation of how he was going to put that up on the screen."  

    The actor likes to play controversial figures and he might get an Oscar for this one.

    "He probably could," agrees Eastwood. "He is very good. He's an excellent actor. I liked working with him."

    The rest of the cast is equally formidable: Judi Dench as the overpowering mother; Naomi Watts as Hoover's steadfast secretary Helen Gandy; and Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson, balancing the frustration of unrequited love with dignity.  

    Eastwood depicts Hoover as ruthless, but also patriotic. As for his personal life? It remains shrouded in secrecy like much of the information he amassed.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.