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‘J. Edgar’ scribe tackles complex characters

Eye on the Oscars: Best Picture - 'J. Edgar'

PRODUCERS:
Brian Grazer, Robert Lorenz

ORIGINS:
“I had been thinking about making a movie on Hoover for about a year when I approached Dustin Lance Black” to write the screenplay, Grazer says. “I have this fascination with the FBI, and J. Edgar built it into what it is today. I thought Lance was perfect because not only is he an outstanding writer, but I also thought he could handle the complexity of J. Edgar’s character.”

FUNDING:
“Warner Bros. was always behind the film, but like all movie studios, they wanted to make it at a smart price. The way Clint (Eastwood) makes movies enabled us to get this ($35 million) film made. He shoots movies in the most efficient way possible. We actually came in under budget, and he shot it in 39 days.”

HIGH HURDLES:
“Getting the movie done on time was probably the most challenging aspect of this project. (On set) I didn’t have to deal with the physical obstacles because Clint and Rob Lorenz are extremely well prepared.”

DOMINO EFFECT:
“Leo (DiCaprio) was the first actor to come on board. Before it was even written, Leo and I had acknowledged that it was something that we were really interested in doing together, but Leo is very selective about directors he works with. (After giving him the script,) about a month later, I was able to call him up and tell him that Clint wants to direct. He immediately said, ‘OK, great. That’s all I needed to know.’ After that, (casting) was easy.”

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