In the upcoming J. Edgar Hoover biopic, Armie Hammer plays Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s protege and “extra special friend.” And since Leonardo DiCaprio plays Hoover, the two had a gay kissing scene. Did Hammer feel weird about it? Apparently not as weird as everyone else:
“When I signed on to do the movie, [my wife] was thrilled that I just didn’t have to kiss another woman!
“[As far as the actual kiss with Leonardo Di Caprio goes,] it’s the same kind of thing as if you walk onto a set and they hand you a machine gun and [say], ‘Shoot this like you know what you’re doing’ – you can’t grab that thing and go, ‘uh…’ – you kind of have to go, ‘Okay, I know what I’m doing,’ and you’ve just got to go for it. It wasn’t that weird – I have never kissed a guy – it’s not something I’m going to do in my private life, but at the end of it I was, like, man, there is a lot of weird hype.
“You always have a special relationship with someone when you finish a movie with them, but…he’s got a bunch of stuff he is doing after that, I’ve got a bunch of stuff I’m doing….we didn’t start a book club together or anything.”
That “weird hype” is something we saw with the male celebrity kisses in Brokeback Mountain, I Love You Philip Morris, and the upcoming Liberace biopic. Though to be fair, straight actors get asked a bunch of stupid questions whenever they have kissing scenes with opposite sex partners too. American film has also treated sexuality with a Puritanical hand. Hollywood’s anti-gay Hayes Code (mentioned frequently in The Celluloid Closet) proves this and the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated brings the argument up to date as it points out that the sex scene in Boys Don’t Cry where Hilary Swank fucks Scarlett Johansson with a strap-on nearly got slapped with an NC-17. The reason? Scar-Jo seemed to enjoy her orgasm just a little too long for MPAA viewers. Of course, gender bias and trans-phobia influenced the MPAA’s threat as well.
So while it’s likely that the American press will NOT stop acting like middle-schoolers everytime two same sex celebrities kiss on-screen, you may wonder just how historically accurate the kiss between J. Edgar Hoover and his protege actually is.
Neither the FBI employees who worked with the two men nor any piece of historical evidence confirms that Hoover and Tolson ever played tonsil hockey. However, Hoover and Tolson did work, eat meals, socialize at night clubs and go on vacation together. Hoover left Tolson his estate of $551,000 when he died and shortly thereafter Tolson moved into Hoover’s house. Tolson also received the U.S. flag draped on Hoover’s coffin. These days, only a few yards separate their graves in the Congressional Cemetery. Gay BFFs in heaven?
Are we no better for wanting to know if the real Tolson and Hoover actually kissed? No! We’re not gossiping, we’re just doing historical research! There’s a total difference, you guys!
Image and link via Towleroad