DICAPRIO CASTING A MISFIRE FOR CLINT
Leonardo DiCaprio is a character actor. Great as a youth in This Boy's Life and What's Eating Gilbert Grape, he was almost a parody of a leading man in Titanic with his fey, boyish look and manner (which didn't stop an uncritical public from making the film a huge success). He's had a few good parts since, such as Catch Me If You Can and The Departed, but much of his work has seen his people and him making some weird or not-quite-right choices: The Quick and the Dead, Gangs of New York, Blood Diamond (with that awful fake accent), and Aviator (a very uneven performance that veered from very good to outright caricature). Now it's clear that he was terribly miscast in Clint Eastwood's new biopic J Edgar. I'm glad to see DiCaprio drifting back to character parts, but this big, showy type of character is not the way to transition into quality character roles. Character actors have the longest careers and often the most interesting titles in their resumes, and DiCaprio has had his fill of fame and has plenty of money and women, so if he's smart, he'll do the occasional leading role and stick with well-written and appropriate character parts. What is so crystal clear from just the stills and film-clips making the rounds for the pending release of J Edgar is that DiCaprio failed to capture the inner being that was J Edgar Hoover. It's all in the eyes. There is an evil queen lurking inside that head of J Edgar and DiCaprio didn't come near it. The image composite I've included shows you (and these are the best examples of DiCaprio getting sorta close I could find). Brilliant New York actor Kenneth McMillan captures the essence of J Edgar without even trying in his performance of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in David Lynch's Dune (1984). The real J Edgar Hoover was a power-mad aggressive homosexual predator who would look you over like a piece of meat. Those who encountered him in an official setting would often perceive this as a powerful person taking stock, but anyone with any gaydar knew when he was sizing up a piece of man-meat with those eyes. There are all kinds of gay men, but one particular type take on a portion of their mother's persona - often with mincing little facial gestures or physical flourishes, and Hoover was this type. Even from the still and clips it is clear DiCaprio missed it entirely.