Clint Eastwood's 'J. Edgar' To World Premiere As AFI Fest Opener

EXCLUSIVE: Although it was speculated that Clint Eastwood’s much-anticipated J. Edgar would show up at either the Venice, Telluride, Toronto or New York film festival this fall, it has been conspicuously absent from all of those lineups — until now. Warner Bros and Eastwood have agreed to have its world premiere Nov. 3 as the opening-night gala at AFI Fest 2011 at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Warners will open the film in limited engagements Nov. 9 and go wide two days later.

The film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the controversial founding director of the  FBI co-stars  Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer and Judi Dench in an original screenplay by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk) that explores the public and private life of a man described as one of the most  powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century.

Eastwood, a four-time Oscar winner including Best Pictures Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, also has ties to the American Film Institute as the recipient of the 1996 AFI Life Achievement Award. Word inside Warners from those who have seen it say the film could put the prolific director back in the Best Picture race for the first time since Million Dollar Baby won in 2004. A (biased?) source there told me that it is definitely three-time nominee DiCaprio’s best shot to finally take an Oscar, so the premiere is a coup for AFI, which opened their fest last year with Ed Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs. This year’s fest is set for Nov. 3-10 and is likely to feature several other awards contenders thanks to its perfect timing for Oscar campaigns.

“What a gift it is to be going to the movies when Clint Eastwood is making them, and what an honor it is for the American Film Institute to premiere his latest contribution to America’s cultural legacy,” Bob Gazzale, president and CEO of the American Film Institute, said in a statement announcing the selection.

  1. I think Leonardo will surely get a nomination for an Academy Award. I think he’ll get a Oscar nomination at least. He is incredible and he is amazing. And I think he will get it. It’s an incredible performance, just wonderful.

  2. Sad to admit but DiCaprio is starting to become a fossil. This just reeks of “I want an Oscar now Goddamit” bait. He’s getting trounced by these actors who are rapidly coming into their own. You got Tom Hardy. Joel Edgerton. Michael Fassbender. Ryan Gosling. Joseph Gordon Leavitt. All turning in Brando-Day Lewis method acting brilliance in these movies of late. I don’t know if he can compete anymore. This J. Edgar better be nothing but brilliant(which I doubt considering the subject — I mean really who cares) because this dude is getting left behind at the station. I’m growing increasingly disinterested in his work. Sad but true. He needs a Gilbert Grape…fast.

    1. You’re dim. He’s one of the biggest stars on the planet and can work with any director he wants. The world is his oyster.

  3. Why be little something before you’ve seen in it. Don’t you think
    if you we’re in there shoes with All that Pressure to become a Commercial Success.I don’t think Warner Bros has ever tanked with an Eastwood Directed Film.
    If DiCaprio really had a Monotone problem they would have took care of it already in Sound Editing.Besides in brings out the Best of you
    judging and condemning even before You’ve seen the Film.
    Good choice see you at AFI.

  4. J. Edgar Hoover is a character any actor would love to play, such a powerful yet flawed person that will let Leo show his range. He kills this and he’s a lock for a nomination, perhaps even a win and he’ll certainly win the Golden Globe, if that matters.

  5. “Hoover” should play strongly, well into late winter. “The Help” indicates audiences want adult subjects that can be discussed afterward. Leo was great as Howard Hughes and that was very hard because nobody really so much as laid eyes on him, let alone knew his; so his Herb should be pretty good.

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