Dustin Lance Black on Leo DiCaprio flick ‘J. Edgar’

From left to right, star Leonardo DiCaprio, director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black discuss the script on the set of "J. Edgar."

After winning an Oscar for his screenplay for “Milk,” another biopic should have been a piece of cake for Dustin Lance Black. Of course, the life of infamous FBI leader J. Edgar Hoover is no ordinary biography — especially given Hoover’s penchant for secrecy about pretty much everything in his life, including his rumored lifelong love affair with Clyde Tolson. But Black likes a challenge, and while that love story is the at the heart of the Clint Eastwood-directed “J. Edgar,” what really drew Black to the story was Hoover’s amassing of power and refusal to relinquish it. In seeking to answer that question, Black covers Hoover’s life from his early 20s until his death at age of 77, passing along a whole new challenge to star Leonardo DiCaprio. If you happen to see the film on opening day, keep your eyes peeled for an incognito Oscar-winner.

The film covers a wide span of Hoover’s life. When were you were writing it, did you know it would be played by one actor?

No, in fact I try not to consider casting when I’m writing — especially a biopic like this, when I don’t have the opportunity to meet the real guy. It’s enough work to try and figure out who he was and get a handle on how he might’ve been, how he might’ve talked, the things he might’ve been thinking and feeling, his behavior — you know, all that’s tough enough. So it’s not until I’ve turned it in, I think wow, that’s going to be challenging. He has to play 20s into his 30s and then 60s into his 70s, and that’s a pretty broad range.

At what point did you know Leonardo DiCaprio would be playing the part?

Things moved very quickly once I turned in the script. Brian Grazer got it to Clint Eastwood, and while Clint was reading it I got a phone call from my lawyer — who works at the same firm Leo’s represented by — and they said, “Hey, you’re not showing this to anyone else, are you?” I mean, I was very excited that it was Leo, if that’s what you want to know about, because this movie was supposed to be about subverting some expectations — confirming some things and subverting others.

Eastwood recently voiced his support for gay marriage, saying people are “making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t make a big deal out of.” Did you two discuss any political or social issues?

Yeah, I mean we talked about things here or there. Mostly we were just making a movie, though. But those are Clint’s ideas. He’s known as a conservative guy, but he’s a libertarian at heart and in no way homophobic. I mean, I didn’t have to teach him what gay love or a relationship would look like. He just treated it with the same respect he would have a heterosexual love story. I hate a lot of other questions, but never one about that.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.