Some of you have read Dustin Lance Black’s J. Edgar script. I haven’t, so this comes as a fascinating and delightful confirmation.
Armie Hammer did the E! News rounds at the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, where he not only reminded people there was only one of him, but he dropped a bit of J. Edgar trivia.
Hoover and Clyde Tolson are going to kiss. A lot. “It’s not a kissing scene — it’s a ton of kissing scenes. I actually just met [Leo] for the first time Saturday at the DGA Awards. Sure, we talked business. He’s a talented actor. I’m not nervous or afraid of it being awkward. The script is great. The scenes are in there for a reason. I’m really excited.”
I’m not surprised that J. Edgar is going to take a definitive stance on Hoover’s sexuality with Black as the scriptwriter. But Clint Eastwood had been so vague when asked about it that I thought it might be all longing glances and veiled hints. While Hoover-was-a-crossdresser jokes are rampant, a lot of Americans still believe he was straight as his narrow tie. There’s no definitive proof one way or another. Many find the discussion of his sexuality distasteful and insulting, despite that it’s one of the most harmless things about a guy who blackmailed and intimidated in the name of power.
What I find exciting about this news isn’t the kissing scenes, but how this might play to conservative America. Eastwood is one of their icons. (They politely ignore his liberal stances on things like abortion and gay rights.) Hoover is a paragon of law and order. To make a film that’s not only gay oriented, but shows the father of the FBI openly loving another man, what will happen? What will the reaction be? Will we see the conservative blogosphere run black with digital ink, protests, and Fox News pundits screaming?
Or will the power of an old movie icon have enough power to sway conservative moviegoers and bloggers into thinking those gay fellows are all right, and it was just too bad they couldn’t love freely?
I don’t know, but I think I’m anticipating the reaction just as eagerly (if not more) than the film itself. The idealistic part of me hopes it’s no big deal, and no one says a nasty word. The Kids Are All Right isn’t exactly sparking any kind of frenzy or mockery the way Brokeback Mountain did. But that was fiction, and this is historical reenactment. I know firsthand how sensitive people are about historical figures and revision. This can’t possibly go by without comment. But how acrimonious will it get?