Last night there was a report that Clint Eastwood wants Joaquin Phoenix to play associate FBI director Clyde Tolson in Hoover, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio as the famous FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. That set me to wondering once again about the nature of Dustin Lance Black‘s script for the film. Fortunately, Movieline has an interview with Black from the Toronto Film Festival, in which he talks in some detail about his approach to the story.

First up, Black says that Leonardo DiCaprio is a definite, that the script is done and the film will shoot early next year.

With regards to specifics about Hoover‘s script, Black says,

Hoover is not as linear and traditional as Milk — but it didn’t need to be…It was important that Milk be that. People know Hoover — or think they know Hoover — and that’s great as a writer because you’re free as a writer to explore other stuff.

That’s something interesting there, that people think they know Hoover, which lets the film follow a less than linear path. The rub being that people know a lot less about Hoover than I expect they think they do. Leads to many more questions: will the film toy with popular conception and misconception about the man, with gradual reveals and contradictions?

Almost certainly, given Black’s further comments.

Hoover is told from Hoover’s point of view, which I’ve never seen before. I’ve read all the books; I’m a history buff. It’s always told from a rather detached point of view, and I think that’s because Hoover never let anyone in. And because of that — and the contradiction between what he believed his history was and what his history actually was — it lends itself to a less-traditional structure. There are more contradictions.

That means there’ll be quite a bit of invention/assumption with respect to specific events in the film, but that would be the case anyway in a film like this. Telling the story directly through Hoover (will there be voiceover by DiCaprio?) is an interesting tactic that elevates the promise of the film just a little bit.

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