In a GQ interview with Mark Harris, Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio have issued non-denial denials that J. Edgar is focused in any significant way on a gayish subcurrent inside the decades-long relationship between J. Edgar Hoover (DiCaprio) and partner/ally/confidante Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer).
On one hand, Eastwood says “it’s not a movie about two gay guys [but] a movie about how this guy manipulated everybody around him and managed to stay on through nine presidents. I mean, I don’t give a crap if he was gay or not.”
But he also says that Hoover and Tolson “were inseparable pals. Now, whether he was gay or not is gonna be for the audience to interpret. It could have been just a great love story between two guys. Or it could have been a great love story that was also a sexual story.”
DiCaprio elaborates: “What we’re saying is that [Hoover] definitely had a relationship with Tolson that lasted for nearly fifty years. Neither of them married. They lived close to one another. They worked together every day. They vacationed together. And there was rumored to be more. There are definite insinuations of…well, I’m not going to get into where it goes, but…”
I wrote the following about six weeks ago: “Knowing Clint as I do, the Gay Edgar Hoover angle will be ‘there,’ but in a vaguely suppressed, played-down way, which of course would be appropriate for the rigidly homophobic era during which the saga of J. Edgar and Clyde took place.
In April 2010 I reported about Dustin Lance Black‘s script, to wit:
“The scenes between Hoover and FBI ally/colleague/friendo Clyde Tolson (whose last name Black spells as ‘Toulson’) are fairly pronounced in terms of sexual intrigue and emotional ties between the two. Theirs is absolutely and without any qualification a gay relationship, Tolson being the loyalty-demanding, bullshit-deflating ‘woman’ and Hoover being the gruff, vaguely asexual ‘man’ whose interest in Tolson is obviously there and yet at the same time suppressed.
“The script flips back and forth in time from decade to decade, from the 1920s (dealing with the commie-radical threat posed by people like Emma Goldman) to the early ’30s (the focus being on the Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping case) to Hoover’s young childhood to the early ’60s (dealing with the Kennedy brothers), the mid to late ’60s (Martin Luther King‘s randy time-outs) and early ’70s (dealing with Nixon‘s henchmen). Old Hoover, young Hoover, etc. Major pounds of makeup for Leo, I’m guessing.”