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Clint Eastwood still hasn’t got a final signed deal that will have Leonardo DiCaprio playing legendary FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, but the film Hoover is still moving forward. There’s a report now saying that Joaquin Phoenix is Eastwood’s top choice for another role in the film: associate FBI director and reported Hoover paramour Clyde Tolson.

Vulture has unnamed sources saying that an offer will go out to Phoenix as soon as DiCaprio’s deal is signed.

I’m perhaps more curious than ever to learn about the Hoover script, by Dustin Lance Black. This is in the wake of the Toronto Film Festival, where Black’s directorial debut What’s Wrong With Virginia? was met with scathing reviews. That film has nothing to do with Hoover, obviously, but it’s an interesting position for a new filmmaker to be in: an Oscar in hand, a deal writing a major film like Hoover, and then a reported disaster at TIFF. Rough business, Hollywood.

Vulture’s info is that the Hoover script “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.”

There’s no question about the veracity of Hoover’s persecution of homosexuals, but questions about the man’s own sexuality have lingered for years, with rumors of cross-dressing and other proclivities coming into play.

But, as Vulture notes, Tolson did inherit Hoover’s estate and received benefits from his life insurance policy. But perhaps Hoover simply didn’t have any other trusted friends? He wasn’t the most popular guy, especially late in life.

Going beyond the suppositions about the script and Hoover’s own history, I’d be excited to see Phoenix working opposite DiCaprio, and I’m still intrigued by the idea of Black writing the film. Hoover could be quite a project.

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