A whole bunch of retired FBI agents are in a tizzy over J. Edgar Hoover‘s portrayal in the Clint Eastwood-directed, Leonardo DiCaprio-starring biopic J. Edgar. Apparently, they’re cool with the way his secretive file-keeping and shady info gathering techniques were portrayed, but the admittedly fictionalized speculation about his personal life will not stand!
“I don’t know anyone who’s not extremely upset,” former agent Bill Brannon told The Washington Post. “It’s not only because of our admiration for him. It’s the fact it’s just not true. If it were true, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. But don’t do that to the poor guy when he’s dead and gone.” Uh oh, he forgot to add “not that there’s anything wrong with that” and that he has many friends who “happen to be gay.” I call homophobia!
To bolster the agents’ case, WaPo even brought in a sympathetic historian who does the worst job proving someone’s not gay since Kevin Kline in In & Out:
John Fox, the FBI historian, said speculation about Hoover’s sexuality never got very far. “Hoover was single all those years,” Fox said. “His closest friend and associate was another man. Periodically through the history of his tenure, there was an innuendo here, an innuendo there that he was homosexual. But that was the extent of it.”
For his part, Eastwood has reiterated that the film is a fictionalized account and that it’s impossible to know for sure what was going on inside Hoover’s head. “‘He was a man of mystery,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America. “He might have been [gay]. I am agnostic about it. I don’t really know and nobody really knew.” Personally, I’d rather watch a movie about a scary but complicated guy who is humanized by his sad, lonely secret than a scary guy who has no romantic relationships because he’s totally dead inside (assuming he’s not asexual), but that’s just me.
(Via The Washington Post)