A Clint Eastwood film and a new Leonardo DiCaprio film are both usually something I'd get excited about. Given that this time they are one and the same, I'm doubly excited. Warner Brothers has finally released a first trailer for their big awards season pony, the Clint Eastwood directed biopic, J. Edgar, about the life of America's number one 'G-Man', J. Edgar Hoover. Leonardo Di Caprio plays the legendary lawman with able help from Judi Dench as Hoover's mother, Anne Marie, Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson, Hoover's right-hand man who may or may not have been his long-time companion, to use a semi-retired euphemism, Naomi Watts as Hoover's trusted secretary Helen Gandy along with a host of other actors playing figures from the history covered by Hoover's forty + year reign as the nation's top cop.
The official synopsis: As the face of law enforcement in America for almost 50 years, J. Edgar Hoover was feared and admired, reviled and revered. But behind closed doors, he held secrets that would have destroyed his image, his career and his life.
Warners skipped the festival circuit with this one, either because they knew they had a hit so why spend the money or just the opposite. There are too many things in their favorite for it to be the latter. The trailer is impressive. It looks like classic Eastwood, (although sorry Leo, all I see and hear is you, not the character), but one thing that struck me is the decision to open it with scenes of Hoover and his mother. Undoubtedly this relationship is central to the story and to the man that Hoover will become, but Anne Marie Hoover telling her young son that he will grow up to be the most powerful man in Amerca for some reason immediately brought to mind another DiCaprio biopic,Martin Scorcese’s The Aviator, that opened with scenes of a young Howard Hughes being scrubbed by his obsessive compulsive mother.It just seems to reinforce the sterotype that it's always mom's fault. (Whatever "it" may be.)
I'm thinking now that the lid is off the box, we'll be getting more trailers and clips in the run up to the film's November 9 release. It will play the AFI Film Festival where it has been selected as the opening film just days before its release to theaters. Watch this space for more.