J. Edgar (2011)

R | 137 mins | Biography | 2011

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HISTORY

       In a dual interview with Addie Morfoot in a 9 Dec 2011 DV “Eye on the Oscars: Best Picture” item, Brian Grazer and Robert Lorenz talked about how the film came about. Grazer stated that, “I had been thinking about making a movie on Hoover for a year when I approached Dustin Lance Black [to write the screenplay].” In an article by Randee Dawn in the 15 Dec 2011 LAT it is stated that Black began work on the screenplay in 2008 and wrote “around five drafts” over a period of two years. The producers told Morfoot that Warner Bros. was “behind the film,” but “wanted to make it at a smart price.” Bringing Clint Eastwood into the project enabled the film to get made on a $35 million budget. “He shoots movies in the most efficient way possible. We actually came in under budget, and he shot it in 39 days.”
       Borys Kit, in an 11 Mar 2011 HR story announced that Clint Eastwood was signed to direct, but noted that the film was “initially set up at Universal and did not currently have a studio affiliation, although it was speculated that the film would end up at Warner Bros., where Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions was headquartered.
       Leonardo DiCaprio dropped his usual fee from $20 million to $2 million according to unnamed sources cited in the 11 Nov 2011 HR article. Some of the star’s makeup sessions for scenes involving the aged J. Edgar Hoover required as many as six hours in the makeup chair.
       Although the film is set in Washington, DC, ... More Less

       In a dual interview with Addie Morfoot in a 9 Dec 2011 DV “Eye on the Oscars: Best Picture” item, Brian Grazer and Robert Lorenz talked about how the film came about. Grazer stated that, “I had been thinking about making a movie on Hoover for a year when I approached Dustin Lance Black [to write the screenplay].” In an article by Randee Dawn in the 15 Dec 2011 LAT it is stated that Black began work on the screenplay in 2008 and wrote “around five drafts” over a period of two years. The producers told Morfoot that Warner Bros. was “behind the film,” but “wanted to make it at a smart price.” Bringing Clint Eastwood into the project enabled the film to get made on a $35 million budget. “He shoots movies in the most efficient way possible. We actually came in under budget, and he shot it in 39 days.”
       Borys Kit, in an 11 Mar 2011 HR story announced that Clint Eastwood was signed to direct, but noted that the film was “initially set up at Universal and did not currently have a studio affiliation, although it was speculated that the film would end up at Warner Bros., where Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions was headquartered.
       Leonardo DiCaprio dropped his usual fee from $20 million to $2 million according to unnamed sources cited in the 11 Nov 2011 HR article. Some of the star’s makeup sessions for scenes involving the aged J. Edgar Hoover required as many as six hours in the makeup chair.
       Although the film is set in Washington, DC, only a few scenes were shot on location in that city. The Library of Congress and the view from the balcony of J. Edgar Hoover’s former office were among the few actual locations filmed, according to studio production notes in the files of the AMPAS library. According to the 11 Nov 2011 HR , the Library of Congress scenes were shot on 27 Mar 2011, the only day LOC would allow the company to shoot there. The courthouse in Warrenton, VA, served as the exterior of the New Jersey courthouse for scenes related to the Bruno Hauptmann trial, while interiors for this sequence were shot inside the old Orange County Courthouse at 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd. in Santa Ana, CA. Other Washington, DC area locations included The Plains, for the Lindbergh estate and Arlington, VA for some historic neighborhoods. However, most of the film was shot in and around Los Angeles. The hallway of the Department of Justice and several office sets were constructed on Stage 16 at Warner Bros. Stand-in Los Angeles locations included The Cicada Restaurant at 617 S. Olive Street, which doubled for New York’s Stork Club; the Park Plaza Hotel at 607 South Park View Street, which served as the men’s department of Garfinkel’s department store and the U.S. Senate chambers; the Pico House at 430 North Main Street, which served as a Kansas City train station; the interior of The Smoke House Restaurant at 4420 West Lakeside Drive, Burbank, CA was also used.
       A 19 Oct 2011 article by Dave McNary in DV announced that the film would have its official world premiere at AFI Fest on 3 Nov 2011.
       Writing in the 21 Nov 2011 issue of Var , Andrew Stewart stated that Warner Bros. would be “sticking with its ‘Mystic River’ gameplan,” opening the film mid-week at seven locations two days before expanding to 1,910 screens. Adding that J. Edgar added a few additional locations, expanding to 1,947 screens in its second weekend. The film had grossed $14.1 million as of 16 Nov 2011.
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Oct 2011.
---
Daily Variety
4 Nov 2011
p. 2, 42.
Daily Variety
9 Dec 2011.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 2011.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 2011
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 2011
p. 58.
Los Angeles Times
9 Nov 2011.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Dec 2011.
---
New York Times
9 Nov 2011
p. 1.
Variety
21 Nov 2011.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Stork Club band
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir, Washington DC unit
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam/Steadicam op
Cam 1st asst
Cam 2d asst
Cam loader
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Rigging gaffer
Rigging best boy
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Rigging key grip
Rigging grip best boy
Still photog
Camera cranes & dollies by
Lighting equipment provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dept coord
Graphic des
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Edited on the
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Gen foreman
Standby painter
Greens coord
Greens foreman
Labor foreman
Propmaker foreman
Plaster foreman
Leadperson
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
On set dresser
Set des
Set des
Set des
MUSIC
Orch and cond by
Mus ed
Music scoring mixer
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
Supv ADR ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Supv foley ed
Foley ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Mix tech
Re-rec eng
Loc sd eff mixer
Foley mixer
Foley mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Visual eff supv
Spec eff supv
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Video & computer graphics supv
Visual eff and digital animation by
Visual eff supv, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff supv, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff prod, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff, Method Studios Vancouver
Visual eff by
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
Visual eff, Lola Visual Effects
MAKEUP
Head ager/Dyer
Ager/Dyer
Mr. DiCaprio's make-up artist and prosthetic effs
Mr. DiCaprio's make-up artist and prosthetic effs
Make-up dept head
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Make-up artist
Ms. Watt's make-up artist
Hair dept head
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Mr. DiCaprio's hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting, Washington DC unit
Casting assoc
Casting assoc-New York
Casting asst
Extras casting
Asst to Mr. Eastwood
Asst to Mr. Lorenz
Asst to Mr. Grazer
Asst to Mr. Moore
Asst to Ms. Huggins
Supv prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod coord, Washington DC unit
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Prod secy
Prod secy, Washington DC unit
Prod accountant
1st asst prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
2d asst accountant, Washington DC unit
Key asst loc mgr
Key asst loc mgr
Key asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr, Washington DC unit
FBI tech adv
Dialect coach to Mr. DiCaprio
Security/Asst to Mr. DiCaprio
Mr. DiCaprio's movement specialist
Asst to Mr. DiCaprio
Asst to Ms. Watts
Studio teacher
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Picture car captain
Staff asst
Staff asst
Staff asst
Staff asst
Staff asst
Staff asst
Craft service
Craft service
Set medic
Set medic
COLOR PERSONNEL
Digital intermediate colorist
Digital intermediate prod
Digital intermediate ed
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Goldberg Variation No. 2," written by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by Gennady Loktionov
"At Sundown," written by Walter Donaldson, performed by George Olsen and His Music, courtesy of RCA, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"The Stars and Stripes Forever," written by John Philip Sousa, arranged by Lennie Niehaus.
SONGS
"My Blue Heaven," written by Walter Donaldson and George Whiting, performed by Gene Austin, courtesy of RCA, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles," written by John Kellette, James Kendis, James Brockman and Nat Vincent
"Red Sails in the Sunset," written by James Kennedy and Hugh Williams, performed by Kyle Eastwood, Joe Bagg, Kye Palmer and Jason Harnell
+
SONGS
"My Blue Heaven," written by Walter Donaldson and George Whiting, performed by Gene Austin, courtesy of RCA, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles," written by John Kellette, James Kendis, James Brockman and Nat Vincent
"Red Sails in the Sunset," written by James Kennedy and Hugh Williams, performed by Kyle Eastwood, Joe Bagg, Kye Palmer and Jason Harnell
"I Only Have Eyes for You," written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, performed by Kyle Eastwood, Joe Bagg, Kye Palmer and Jason Harnell.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
2011
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 9 November 2011
Production Date:
7 February 2011 to 30 March 2011 [39 shooting days]
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby® Digital; Datasat Digital Sound; SDDS Sony Dynamic Digital Sound in selected theatres
Color
Technicolor®
Black and White
Lenses/Prints
Filmed with Panavision® cameras and lenses; prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
137
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
47075
SYNOPSIS

After lecturing Robert Irwin about the evils of communism, an elderly J. Edgar Hoover begins dictating his memoirs to an agent from the Bureau's PR arm. Hoover's tale begins in 1919 when his first boss, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, and his family are almost killed by a bomb blast at their home. Palmer was the target of Bolsheviks and, while watching police officers carelessly destroy evidence at the scene, Hoover decides to dedicate his life to improving forensic investigation. Palmer recognizes Hoover's ambition and has the young up-and-comer create a new anti-radical division at the Department of Justice to fight the red menace. Hoover attempts to impress new DOJ secretary Helen Gandy. Taking her to the Library of Congress, he shows off the card catalog system he devised for the library. While Helen appears impressed with his accomplishment, she rebuffs his romantic gestures. So, rather than proposing marriage, Hoover asks Helen to become his personal secretary. A year into his new job, Hoover sets his sights on Emma Goldman, the ringleader of the radical Bolshevik movement. Having her hauled in front of a congressional panel, Goldman pleads the fifth regarding her anarchist agenda, for which she is promptly deported. Then, on a raid on a communist meetinghouse in Patterson, NJ, Hoover flaunts his authority by handing out firearms to federal agents who are prohibited from carrying guns. In the ensuing melee, 4,000 radicals are arrested and 500 are deported. However, due to the controversy over the carrying of guns, most of the agents and Palmer lose their jobs. The new Attorney General, Harlan Fiske Stone, impressed by Hoover's dedication, makes the young man the first Acting Director of ... +


After lecturing Robert Irwin about the evils of communism, an elderly J. Edgar Hoover begins dictating his memoirs to an agent from the Bureau's PR arm. Hoover's tale begins in 1919 when his first boss, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, and his family are almost killed by a bomb blast at their home. Palmer was the target of Bolsheviks and, while watching police officers carelessly destroy evidence at the scene, Hoover decides to dedicate his life to improving forensic investigation. Palmer recognizes Hoover's ambition and has the young up-and-comer create a new anti-radical division at the Department of Justice to fight the red menace. Hoover attempts to impress new DOJ secretary Helen Gandy. Taking her to the Library of Congress, he shows off the card catalog system he devised for the library. While Helen appears impressed with his accomplishment, she rebuffs his romantic gestures. So, rather than proposing marriage, Hoover asks Helen to become his personal secretary. A year into his new job, Hoover sets his sights on Emma Goldman, the ringleader of the radical Bolshevik movement. Having her hauled in front of a congressional panel, Goldman pleads the fifth regarding her anarchist agenda, for which she is promptly deported. Then, on a raid on a communist meetinghouse in Patterson, NJ, Hoover flaunts his authority by handing out firearms to federal agents who are prohibited from carrying guns. In the ensuing melee, 4,000 radicals are arrested and 500 are deported. However, due to the controversy over the carrying of guns, most of the agents and Palmer lose their jobs. The new Attorney General, Harlan Fiske Stone, impressed by Hoover's dedication, makes the young man the first Acting Director of the new Bureau of Investigation. One new recruit that Hoover is anxious to interview personally is Clyde Tolson, a promising law school graduate. At his first interview with Tolson, Hoover begins sweating profusely and berates the applicant for showing a lack of commitment to anything other than himself in his application. Still, the two men bond easily and Tolson is soon helping his new boss pick out his clothes at a men's store. Flashing forward to the 1930s, Hoover turns his sights from communists to gangsters. He is particularly annoyed by public opinion that romanticizes the outlaws' behavior. However, his public service message is booed by audiences who cheer the movie trailer for The Public Enemy . Then, when the baby of American hero Charles Lindbergh is kidnapped, Hoover and Tolson travel to the Lindberghs' New Jersey mansion to help with the investigation. However, they are instantly rebuffed by local authorities, who are horribly contaminating the evidence in Hoover's eyes. Returning to Washington, Hoover gives passionate testimony to Congress to make kidnapping a federal crime and to have fingerprints made by police be sent to a centralized file in Washington. On his own, Hoover also founds the agency's first science lab. After Hoover meets for the first time with Franklin D. Roosevelt, he shares with Tolson the good news that the newly elected president has given him the power to spy on suspected agitators without warrant. Hoover also promotes Tolson to Associate Director of the Bureau. Back in New Jersey, a man finds the skeleton of a baby just a few dozen yards from Lindbergh's home. The skeleton has had its skull bashed in, proving Hoover's theory that the kidnapper fell down the ladder the night of the kidnapping. Six weeks later, Congress makes kidnapping a federal crime and gives federal agents the power to carry guns. However, at another Congressional hearing, Senator McKellar grills Hoover over recent pop culture depictions of G-Men, such as comic books illustrating Hoover carrying a machine gun and arresting criminals. While Hoover claims that is an exaggeration, he immediately sets about making the legend match the man. After wielding his own gun while arresting a gangster, Hoover makes sure to give reporters the scoop on his feats of derring-do. Soon, the public's tastes have turned from applauding gangsters as the heroes of films to applauding federal agents. Riding home from the premiere of the movie G-Men in NYC, Hoover and Tolson hold hands in the back of their limousine. When the two men later go to a nightclub and two women make sexual advances toward Hoover, he rushes back to his hotel in embarrassment. As Hoover stammers and stutters trying to explain to his mother that he doesn't like to dance with women, she reminds him of a boy Hoover used to know who committed suicide after being accused of being a homosexual. Mrs. Hoover says she'd rather have a dead son than a queer one. Meanwhile, Hoover's real G-Men begin zeroing in on a German immigrant, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who bought the material to build the ladder used in the Lindbergh kidnapping. At last, Hoover personally captures Hauptman and the immigrant is placed on trial. In the '60s, as Hoover is listening to an illicit wiretap recording of John F. Kennedy and his mistress making love, he receives the tragic news that the president has been shot in Dallas. Following the assassination, Hoover and Tolson go to a horse race. After watching a similar race when they're younger men, Hoover and Tolson relax in their hotel room until Hoover drops the bombshell that he's going to propose to actress Dorothy Lamour. Tolson smashes his cocktail glass against the fireplace and screams angrily. Hoover punches him in the face and their struggle escalates into an intense wrestling match that only ends when Tolson passionately kisses Hoover on the lips. Tolson leaves, no matter how much Hoover begs him to stay. Back in the '60s, Tolson has a stroke at the racetrack. While he recuperates, Hoover explains how he's going to threaten Martin Luther King, whom Hoover considers a communist agitator, with some embarrassing audiotapes, so that the civil rights leader will be forced to refuse his Nobel Peace Prize. In the meantime, another agent from the PR department arrives to continue with Hoover's memoir, picking up with the trial of Hauptmann. Forensic evidence from Hoover's science team makes up the bulk of the evidence against the German immigrant, who is found guilty and sentenced to death. In the '60s, Hoover is disappointed when, despite his best efforts to threaten him, Martin Luther King accepts his Nobel Peace Prize. At the office, Hoover is becoming progressively weaker. Feeling ill, he flashes back to the day his mother died peacefully in her own bed under the care of her doctor. Distraught, he tries on his mother's dress and jewelry, but curses at the image of himself in female attire in the mirror. Following Nixon's inauguration, Hoover worries that the new president will gut the bureau and crucify him personally. Helen dutifully vows to destroy all of Hoover's files should something terrible happen to him. At dinner with Tolson, Hoover reveals that instead of crucifying him, Nixon wants the FBI to expand its wiretapping operations to include reporters. Instead of being happy, Tolson suggests that Hoover retire, so that the FBI chief can exit a hero and not be kicked out in disgrace someday. He worries that Hoover's own self-invented mythology (another agent actually arrested Bruno Hauptmann) will some day catch up with him. Although annoyed by Tolson's words, Hoover reminisces about his original job interview with Tolson and of how he began to sweat when he realized that he would need to rely on Tolson for the rest of his life. Before leaving, Hoover gently kisses Tolson on the forehead. The next day, a presidential aide informs Nixon that Hoover has, in fact, died. Tolson visits Hoover's body, which still lies on the bedroom floor. Tolson pulls the bedspread off and covers his lover's body up. As Nixon gives a touching televised speech about Hoover's passing, White House agents raid the dead man's office for his files, but Helen has dutifully shredded everything. As a final remembrance, Tolson reads a love poem that reminds him of Hoover. +

Legend
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Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.