Scott Steindorff’s Stone Village Prods. has preemptively acquired screen rights to “The Puppet Master: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover,” with the intention of bringing the controversial FBI director’s remarkable story to the screen.
The book, which will be published by New Millennium next winter, was written by Richard Hack. The deal closely replicates the one that Steindorff made for Hack’s last book, “Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters.” Chris Nolan adapted that book and plans to direct at Castle Rock, with Jim Carrey poised to portray the reclusive billionaire.
Steindorff will produce the Hoover biopic, and New Millennium’s Michael Viner and Deborah Raffin will exec produce.
Hoover has long fixated Hollywood filmmakers. Several attempts have been made to turn the powerbroker’s life into a pic. “From Hell” helmers Allen and Albert Hughes were among those who developed a feature. HBO got close to doing a Hoover film with “What’s Love Got to Do With It” director Brian Gibson, only to have the project halt in pre-production because of questions about the most scandalous alleged elements of Hoover’s personal life. Gibson intended to deal with the long-rumored assertion that the head fed was a cross-dresser who had a homosexual affair with his right-hand man Clyde Tolson.
Viner and Steindorff wouldn’t say if they’d be dragging the cross-dressing assertions out of the closet for the feature. But they said Hack’s voluminous research allows to be sure that what they portray will be accurate.
“Stories about Hoover after his death have grown more and more outrageous,” Viner said. “This book will track the untruths, and say exactly where they came from. … The book will corroborate a lot of what you’ve heard, and he’s an amazing character who influenced the presidency, the mafia and everything else in the country by what he did or didn’t do.”
Steindorff said Stone Village would move quickly to align a top-tier filmmaker. The company got that in Nolan for “Hughes,” a film whose timing will likely be determined by whether Hughes rival “The Aviator” gets airborne in timely fashion with Leonardo DiCaprio starring and Martin Scorsese directing for IEG, Miramax and Warner Bros.