Leonardo DiCaprio is no stranger to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In "Catch Me If You Can" he was constantly one step ahead of the FBI as legendary scam artist Frank Abagnale Jr. He also earned the domestic intelligence agency's attention as industrialist Howard Hughes in "The Aviator." Now DiCaprio is set to lead the FBI, playing its very first director, J. Edgar Hoover.
Deadline Hollywood reports that the "Shutter Island" star will take on the challenging task of bringing the controversial Hoover's life to the big screen in a biopic to be directed by Clint Eastwood, who is also producing with Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment. The script comes from Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of "Milk." Deadline further reports that the film is untitled, though IMDb identifies it simply as "Hoover."
A great deal of controversy surrounds the life of the FBI's first director. Hoover served in a leadership role over the FBI and its precursor organizations for a total of 48 years. Although he is credited as being responsible for instituting many of the bureau's grand-scale crime-fighting techniques, he has also been accused of misusing his power for political purposes and employing illegal methods in evidence-gathering. Following Hoover's reign, the FBI instituted a 10-year maximum term for all directors.
As for Hoover's personal life, it is fraught with rumors that he was a closeted homosexual and cross-dresser. Many of these allegations come from untrustworthy sources and have been refuted, but it remains to be seen how Black chose to handle that aspect of the FBI director's life in his script.
DiCaprio teamed with filmmaker Martin Scorsese earlier in the year — their fourth collaboration — for an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel "Shutter Island." The actor also has a major summer blockbuster coming next month, sci-fi action/thriller "Inception," from "The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan.
Eastwood has shifted in his later years from grizzled cowboy actor to respected filmmaker. He picked up Oscar nominations for "Mystic River" and "Letters From Iwo Jima," and he took home Best Director and Best Picture awards in 2005 for "Million Dollar Baby," a film for which he also received a Best Actor nom.
Eastwood is set to release his latest directing effort, "Hereafter," later this year. The Peter Morgan-penned supernatural thriller stars Matt Damon and Bryce Dallas Howard. "Hoover" is tentatively scheduled for a 2012 release.