It’s terribly silent on the news front this week.  This is understandable, but I know you guys are undoubtedly bored (hell, I’m bored) and please know we’re doing our best to find stuff to post.

And that’s why I’m going to write the hell out of this casting bit, and fill it with all kinds of crazy guesswork.

As you know, Clint Eastwood is prepping a biopic of the notorious, controversial, and enigmatic J. Edgar Hoover.  Now retitled J. Edgar, it has a script from Dustin Lance Black, so it’s almost certain it will deal with Hoover’s guarded sexuality.    While a lot of Eastwood’s work has been a bit pale and bloodless of late, this one is lining up a good cast, and I have high hopes for it.

As you know, DiCaprio is playing Hoover.  Armie Hammer, who was downright eerie in his double performance in The Social Network, will be playing Hoover’s best friend and possible lover, Clyde Tolson.   Damon Herriman will be playing Bruno Hauptmann, the man convicted (but who may have been innocent) of kidnapping and killing the Lindbergh baby.  J. Edgar actually questioned and doubted Hauptmann’s guilt, but I’m not sure he ever acted beyond that.
Charlize Theron is currently in talks to play Helen Gandy, Hoover’s private secretary.

But a neat little casting item popped up on SandwichJohnFilms.  Mr. Sandwich chatted with Eastwood on the red carpet at the California Hall of Fame, and Eastwood revealed Dame Judi Dench had joined the cast.  He didn’t say who she was playing, he just smiled and said “And there we are.” 

There we are indeed.  My guess is that she could be Eleanor Roosevelt, who Hoover conducted surveillance on to find evidence on her alleged lesbian lovers. She could also be Susan Rosenstiel, who insisted she had seen Mr. Hoover in ladies attire and engaging in gay orgies.   I’m not sure how old or young Ms. Rosenstiel was at the time J. Edgar takes place, though. Maybe she’s playing an older Ms. Gandy.   Who knows! Guesses are welcome on this slow newsday. Though I’m betting the first one is “It’s obvious! She’ll be J. Edgar in drag!”

I’m really curious and excited to see this one come together. Eastwood said DiCaprio “volunteered for it” so at least you know he will have passion for it.   Since Eastwood isn’t racing into this a’la Hereafter (that first draft love got the better of him), I’m hoping he too will put some blood, sweat, and history into this movie.  Eastwood loves filmmaking, so I will never accuse him of not caring.  But he’s gotten so careful with his historic films that they feel like movies he was obligated to make rather than stories he was truly passionate about.  (Can you blame him? How are you going to tell Morgan Freeman “No!” when he asks you to direct his Nelson Mandela biopic? You don’t, you just film it, and it ends up feeling a little flat.) I’d like to see him knock this one out of the park, if only to prove to the whippersnappers of the blogosphere that he’s Clint Eastwood and he knows how to direct a motion picture, thank you very much.