While Clint Eastwood‘s period drama/biopic, “J. Edgar,” only finished shooting in February, it isn’t surprising that Warner Bros. has already dated the film for Oscar season of this year. Eastwood has a reputation for working quickly, on schedule and right on budget, and the studio was already planning a fall release and today, they made their awards season play, slotting the film for November 9th. Leonardo DiCaprio leads the Dustin Lance Black-penned picture as the first director of the F.B.I., and the film should be a player for Warner Bros., who have nothing else in their stable this year aside from Stephen Daldry‘s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” But then, if it turns out to be a tepid effort like last year’s “Hereafter,” you can expect WB to shift their resources (like they did in 2010, putting a bigger push behind “Inception” and “The Town“).
Aside from DiCaprio, the drama has a stellar cast including “The Social Network” breakout star Armie Hammer as Hoover’s assistant/closeted lover Clyde Tolson; Josh Lucas as famed aviator Charles Lindbergh; Ed Westwick as Agent Smith, an operative gifted with writing skills; Damon Herriman as Bruno Hauptmann, the man convicted of kidnapping and killing the Lindbergh baby; Judi Dench as Hoover’s mother; Naomi Watts as Helen Gandy, a Justice Department file clerk who ended up being Hoover’s personal secretary; Ken Howard as lawyer and jurist Harlan F. Stone; Jeffrey Donovan as Robert F. Kennedy; and Stephen Root as Arthur Koehler, a wood specialist at Forest Product Laboratories who uses his expertise to help Hoover investigate the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby by tracing the origins of the ladder used by the perpetrator.
While Eastwood is a perennial figure of the awards season, due to the director’s one-two punch of Oscar dominators “Mystic River” and “Million Dollar Baby,” the filmmaker’s Academy dominance has been seriously waning of late. Frankly, so has the quality of Eastwood’s films after winning Best Picture for ‘Baby,’ but that’s another story. That said, “The Changeling,” starring Angelina Jolie, was underrated, and since both pictures track the same 1930s period, we’re hoping Eastwood shows some of the same mojo.
The November 9th weekend should find Eastwood’s film being a nice counter-programming option for those who don’t want to endure Adam Sandler‘s “Jack and Jill” or Tarsem‘s swords and sandals flick “Immortals.” No festival appearances have been announced yet for the film, and that’s not really Eastwood’s game, but last year “Hereafter” hit TIFF (albeit in a one-off showing with no separate press screenings) so we won’t be surprised if WB pulls the same move to at least test the critical waters on the pic. [Box Office Mojo]