Leonardo DiCaprio and Joaquin Phoenix to Play Lovers on the DL?


Some interesting casting news on Clint Eastwood's biopic of J. Edgar Hoover, from The Vulture:

"Clint Eastwood's Hoover is quickly heating up at Warner Bros., where Vulture hears that Joaquin Phoenix is said to be the director's top choice to play J. Edgar Hoover's reputed paramour and protégé, Clyde Tolson. (Exactly the kind of praiseworthy part we said Phoenix needed to up his standing in Hollywood's star market.) For those unfamiliar with Tolson and Hoover, they really were the original 'Ambiguously Gay Duo': As the associate director of the FBI from 1947 to 1972, Tolson was in daily close contact with Hoover at the office, but even more interesting, the pair also dined, socialized in night clubs, and even vacationed together."

As I noted back in March, the script is by Dustin Lance Black. Vulture adds: "Hoover explores the two men’s complicated relationship; neither man ever admitted to being gay, and Hoover was known for hunting down and intimidating those who dared questioned his sexual preference while he was alive. But Hoover’s actions in death seem to suggest they were more than simply pals in life: When Hoover died, Tolson was not only the beneficiary of Hoover’s life-insurance policy, he also inherited Hoover's estate and moved into his house. At Hoover’s funeral, he accepted the U.S. flag draped over Hoover's coffin, and today, Tolson's grave is a few yards from Hoover's in the Congressional Cemetery."


  1. esther blodgett says

    The problem is not Leo playing gay since he’s already done that anyway.

    Rather it is that Leo is too damn pretty to play notoriously bulldog-lookalike J. Edgar Hoover.

    ‘Jedgar’ (as Lily Tomlin as Ernestine called him) was as ugly as a mud fence inside and out.

  2. scar2 says

    Leo can pull it off. He’s a character actor underneath that pretty face. Anthony Hopkins does not look like Nixon at all but ended up getting an Oscar nod for that movie. I hope Phoenix can get it together to do ‘real’ acting again – he’s so talented.

  3. Dick says

    Recently Tim Gunn has told the tale of when he was a child being invited to Jhedgar’s office(Papa Gunn was his speech writer) where he met Vivian Vance!! At least he thought it was Vance.

  4. says

    Ok, call me dim, but I had never heard of this relationship! Anyone have a book they recommend (or something along that lines) that explores this idea more?

  5. Charlie says

    Well this is one of those things that is so widely rumored that some people take it as fact. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it. You could try the footnotes they offer.

    ‘Some authors have dismissed the rumors about Hoover’s sexuality and his relationship with Tolson in particular as unlikely,[28] while others have described them as probable or even “confirmed”,[29] and still others have reported the rumors without stating an opinion.[30] Hoover described Tolson as his alter ego: the men not only worked closely together during the day, but also took meals, went to night clubs and vacationed together.[27] This closeness between the two men is often cited as evidence that they were lovers, though some FBI employees who knew them, such as Mark Felt, say that the relationship was merely “brotherly”.’

  6. Rin says


    I’m curious, do you mean only gay actors should play gays, or do you mean he will be up for an oscar for playing an allegedly gay man?

    Leo thinks about Oscars and historical, period pieces/biopics usually win them. Think Howard Hughes–why did he take that role? Biopic about a nutjob.

  7. says

    “Brotherly” IOW it was incest. Gore Vidal dedicated his play “An Evening with Richard Nixon” to J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolsen “with affection.” Gore read the files they kept on him and was most amused.

    In thr marvelous “Gay Sunshine Magazine” interview Vidal also pointed out that when Lyndon Johnson aide Walter Jenkins was arrested for falling in love with a cop at a Washington D.C. YMCA Hoover sent Jenkins a bouquet of flowers to the conviently “hospitalized” ex-official.

    “Hoover cared,” Vidal said

  8. A.G. says

    This has the potential to be a very interesting movie. Apparently, JEH didn’t like to spend his money. I hope it includes some of the detail such as JEH having an FBI artist go to his home to touch up the fading roses on his wallpaper and how JEH and Tolson would lunch on scrambled eggs and lobster almost daily in the dining room of the Mayflower Hotel. I understand they never paid for lunch. Reportedly,one day, a new manager confronted them with a check, and they never showed up again.

  9. TomSkylark says

    @Rin: No, I’m not touting sad old identity politics. Rather, I’m against Hollywood’s continued hypocrisy when it comes to representing gay characters vs. encouraging and supporting out actors (instead of just type-casting them).

    So, it’s fairly de rigeur for straight Hollywood actors to make with the Oscar grabs by portraying gay characters (especially historical figures, or figures whom we can comfortably locate in historical moments), while Hollywood as an industry still continues to encourage actors to stay in the closet (sometimes to very publicly destructive ends). That strikes me as a mixed message, bordering on institutional exploitation.

    Admittedly I could’ve worded my earlier comment more productively, but sometimes malaise seems the most appropriate reaction to problems that have been going on for so long.

  10. Don't Even Think About It says

    That pic of Joaquin is very flattering, must be an old one.

    Hoover loved power and Clyde Tolson. But I bet they never “did it,” at least not with their clothes off. And especially not with the lights on.