If Clint Eastwood Is Cool With Homos Why Is He Freaking Out About J. Edgar Not Being A Gay Movie?

Hollywood Republican Clint Eastwood and noted liberal Leonardo DiCaprio, the director and star of the upcoming J. Edgar Hoover bio-pic J. Edgar, both appear in the October issue of GQ. But when the subject of Hoover’ alleged homosexuality comes up, the two stars practically trip over themselves to downplay it.

“I’d heard all the various controversies and gossip—that he wore dresses at parties,” says Eastwood. “Everybody was saying, maybe he’s gay because he’d never gotten married. But that’s the way they did it back in the ’40s. If a guy didn’t get married, they always thought, Oh, there’s something wrong with him.”

When the magazine’s Mark Harris asks about Hoover’s relationship with Clyde Tolson—his roommate, confidante and right-arm man at the Bureau—Eastwood makes them sound like Fred and Barney (or perhaps, Bert and Ernie?).

“Well, they were inseparable pals,” says Eastwood. “Now, whether he was gay or not is gonna be for the audience to interpret. It could have been just a great love story between two guys. Or it could have been a great love story that was also a sexual story.”

Sensing Eastwood might be going off-script, DiCaprio interjects:

“What we’re saying is that he definitely had a relationship with Tolson that lasted for nearly fifty years. Neither of them married. They lived close to one another. They worked together every day. They vacationed together. And there was rumored to be more. There are definite insinuations of—well, I’m not going to get into where it goes, but…”

Not even letting DiCaprio finish his thought, Eastwood interrupts:

“It’s not a movie about two gay guys. It’s a movie about how this guy manipulated everybody around him and managed to stay on through nine presidents. I mean, I don’t give a crap if he was gay or not.”

Right, why would his being a closeted homosexual shed any light on why Hoover persecuted LGBT Americans and other people on the fringes of society for decades? It’s almost hard to believe that the script for J. Edgar, which his theaters on November 9, was written by screenwriter/activist Dustin Lance Black.

We can be glad, though, that Eastwood doesn’t care if gays and lesbians want to get married.

“I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of … Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”

Sounds like somebody needs a nap.

Images via GQ, Warner Bros

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #entertainment #celebs/celebrities #clinteastwood stories and more


  • jason

    It’s possible for two men to share a homosensual – as opposed to homosexual – relationship. Completely possible. Homosensuality is much more common than many of you think.

    I think a lot of you tend to downplay the presence of homosensuality because you are basically in the gay scene for the sex and not much else. You’re immersed in a sex world where the aim is to find someone to fuck.

  • the crustybastard

    “I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of … Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”

    Another Republican more progressive on LGBT issues than, ahem…leading Democrats.

  • Elloreigh

    “If Clint Eastwood Is Cool With Homos Why Is He Freaking Out About J. Edgar Not Being A Gay Movie?”

    Maybe because it’s not a gay movie, and he doesn’t want to kill the potential box office receipts by having it represented as such.

    What it is, is a movie about a historical figure who lived during a time when people were not out, and who actually contributed to the oppression of gay people. Whether or not Hoover was gay isn’t actually known. It’s possible, even probable that he was.

    So, they could make a movie that assumes Hoover was gay and fictionalize the account further, or they could make a movie that attempts to stay closer to the known facts.

    Which one do you think is likely to be more profitable?

    And don’t think it doesn’t piss me off that gay still equals box office poison in the minds of producers. Whether it does to audiences is certainly debatable. On the other hand, when was the last time an overtly gay movie made the kind of profits as other films?

    Personally, I’d like America to get to a place where homosexuality isn’t viewed as controversial, and where films can feature gay characters without their gayness being the main theme, and where they aren’t one-dimensional stereotypes used as villains or for comic relief. Not that I’m wishing films that delve into our lives would completely go away. I just think they’re never going to considered mainstream cinema for the most part, and therefore will probably never move beyond being indie films that don’t garner the equivalent profits.

  • Interesting

    @the crustybastard: Since your choice of words is “leading Democrats.” I didn’t know Clint Eastwood being a Republican makes him a leading Republican. Here, I was thinking being the House or Senate Leadership or being a Republican Presidential candidate makes one a leading Republican. What’s the actual GOP leadership position on these issues?

    I have no problem calling out Democrats, but this whole pretending the GOP leadership (again your choice to focus on that) when compare the two makes you seem like a Republican who is living in a fantasy land.

  • Interesting

    @Elloreigh: Except they have no problem making similar leaps of history, whether it is not certain in other areas. And even when certain, a movie like Beautiful Mind where they whitewashed the bisexuality of the lead character, they still do it.

    Your whole post is reducible to a single sentence despite your verbose style: “If it makes money, its okay.”

    You are also wrong by the way. But its hard to beat received belief with box office reality. When you say “as other movies” its an odd qualifier because the question is what do you mean by “other movies.” Whatever this movie is going to be, it is not some kind of tent pole summer block buster. Its Oscar bait. It will probably make, if it does well, about 100 mil.

    What we do know is that gay movies with starwattage behind them do exceptionally well at the box office. But again, its hard to beat received wisdom. You can look at the numbers to verify what i just said. Keyword: starpower. Look for movies with high profile stars in them.

  • Skeloric

    The Equal Marriage issue rears up even here in a story about some movie.
    It really is to the point where a resistant few are trying to claim “vast” support for an oppressive stance on a issue when large swaths of their actual followers are pretty much to the point of continuously screaming “shut up” at them for as long as it takes to get the message into their heads.
    Problem: The amount of time required to scream “shut up” at the resistant few is still longer than several lifetimes.

  • David Ehrenstein

    What Clint’s trying to do in this interview is simply underscore that the film isn’t a piece of cheapjack sensationaism with “shocking revelations” about J. Edgar and Clyde. Duston Lance Black wrioe the script so it will undoubtedly touch on it. Personally I think that while Hoover was gay he had found expressing affection next to impossible. I look forward to lots of long smouldering looks and choked sobs.

    BTW, Gore Vidal pointed out that Hoover sent a bouquet of flowers to Walter Kenkins, the Johnson adminstration appointee who was nabbed in a tearoom bust. “Hoover cared,” said Gore — who dedicated his play “An Eveneing with Richard Nixon” to J. Edgar and Clyde Tolson “with appreciation.”

    Gore had by this time read his FBI file and was most amused by Hoover’s observations of his life.

  • Lefty

    I don’t take any issue with what he said tbh. If there really is very little evidence that Hoover was gay then I think they have to rely on insinuation and ambiguity. Personally, I think he was obviously gay and you’d have to be blind and stupid to say he wasn’t.
    I’m looking forward to this film. Hope it’s good.

  • Oh Dear (John From England)

    @the crustybastard:

    How? Explain yourself.

    You said “leading republican”….and he is not, is he? He’s a Director. A leading Director, so surely his logical example should be a leading Democrat like say, Steven Spielberg?

    This is a right and left issue, so this isn’t personal but what is it with human beings and their insaneness that keep on comparing apples and oranges to make a warped malicious point of view to create havoc?

    Its like when the left were comparing Coumo to Obama. Hello? One is a career politician whose Dad was a politician in the state and who was running in a LIBERAL state who came out for marriage equality. Important words here being…STATE and LIBERAL.

    The other is a black son of a single mother who is RUNNING one of the largest countries in the world that is actually inherently socially CONSERVATIVE and has to appease so many states that include some that haven’t abolished interracial slavery, are run by the KKK and think anyone who reads a book is a ‘goddamn socialist’.

    But still said he is EVOLVING on same sex marriage which in turn made him even MORE of an enemy to the crazy right and it appears the left?


  • Adam

    Lisa Cholodenko said that The Kids Are All Right wasn’t necessarily a “gay movie,” I don’t see why it’s a problem for Clint to say the same thing about his movie. (Granted you have the whole straight-white-male hegemony thing going for him, but I don’t think that’s what’s at play here.)

  • Daine

    Of course, there isn’t any evidence “roll eyes”. Two men who lived together, were inseparable and travelled together couldn’t possibly be partners. How dare anyone suggest they were lovers? Next, someone will have the audacity to say Liberace is gay and Whitney Houston is black.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    That’s quite a change for ol’ Clint, considering during another GQ interview, he stated Americans were tired of gays, “shoving it down people’s throats”.

  • JWilliamson

    Leave Clint alone, he’s a darling (and one of the few stellar directors alive).

  • B

    To put this in perspective, I really don’t think people who were on Hoover’s enemies list would care about whether he was gay or not, but rather about how this SOB managed to get away with it so long. The rumor was that he had files of dirt for nearly every elected official in Washington and would threaten to release the dirt if anyone got out of line. So everyone was afraid to oust him. But nobody really knew, or at least nobody was talking.

    There’s only so much you can fit in a film. I wouldn’t blame them from downplaying private aspects of Hoover’s life to spend more time on the public ones.

  • Lefty

    @Daine: I agree it’s obvious he was gay but that still isn’t evidence… it’s obvious to me that dear old Abe Lincoln was gay but good luck telling most Americans that you have proof…

  • Alex


    That really isn’t true. There haven’t been that many gay-themed movies that have done well. Only a handful. If adding a star to a gay-themed film equalled big bucks Hollywood be pushing them out left and right. Look at what happened to “I Love You, Phillip Morris” that starred Jim Carey and Ewan McGregor. It got a tiny release with little fanfare.

    Film studios are still homophobic, sexist, and racist like the rest of society. The movie business is geared to delivering films aimed at specific demographics: usually young white males and, now, young white females because of Twilght’s success.

  • Adman

    “If Clint Eastwood Is Cool With Homos Why Is He Freaking Out About J. Edgar Not Being A Gay Movie?”

    Is it because he is a merchant of American hegemony which to him means white washing everything historical not white and hetero? Maybe he could stand to lose a few bucks at the box office in order to let history be represented instead of him directly taking a leadership role in it’s revision? Nahh, lol, I don’t mean that. Everyone should share the tedium of Clint’s mediocrity and especially his hopelessly shortsighted and middlebrow aspirations. This way we can all be true blue American livestock, like God (and Hollywood Clint, coincidentally) intended.

  • Bryan

    I’ve always wondered something, is not caring the same thing as being supportive? Like if someone says “I don’t care who gets married to who”. Does that necessarily mean the person is in support of gay marriage?

  • Elloreigh

    @Interesting: “Your whole post is reducible to a single sentence despite your verbose style: ‘If it makes money, its okay.'”

    If that’s what you took from my post, then I have to question your reading comprehension.

    “When you say ‘as other movies’ its an odd qualifier because the question is what do you mean by ‘other movies.'”

    Again, reading comprehension seems to be an issue. “Other movies” would be movies other than those which are “overtly gay” – the very qualifier I used in that same sentence. By “overtly gay”, I mean films where the main characters are gay, and whose central themes concentrate largely on that aspect of their lives. I don’t think it was that difficult to figure out.

    “What we do know is that gay movies with starwattage behind them do exceptionally well at the box office.”

    Define “exceptionally well”.

    “You can look at the numbers to verify what i just said”

    Or you could name them and tell us how much they made, instead of blowing smoke up our…

    Nowhere did I say “blockbuster”.

  • Interesting

    @Elloreigh: Your comments are factually false about star oriented gay films. this is not a close call, you said, I said. Nor can you rebut my statement by claiming I did not understand you. Understand any interpretation, you are wrong.

  • Razzmatazz

    I honestly don’t see anything wrong with what he said.

  • Elloreigh

    @Interesting: Put up or shut up. Name the films and how much they made. Then maybe we can discuss your point intelligently. Otherwise, I’m not persuaded that you have one.

  • anon Ymus

    EVEN AS the greatest world nuclear disaster, and budding
    DEPOP OP of all time (?) —-FUKISHIMA—- rains
    ‘EUGENICS friendly’ fallout across North America
    –still more demoralizing, POST American
    fare from whispery cowboy himself, Clint Eastwood.

    Further, note, he and Hollywood generally, have BALKED
    the 20th, 30th 40th, 50th and NOW 60th Anniversaries
    of the awesomely relevant, Globalism—RED China and EUGENICS
    ‘unfriendly’, KOREAN WAR.


Comments are closed.