Eastwood's J. Edgar To Premiere At AFI Fest

By Brian Salisbury 2011-09-07 10:35:58discussion comments
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Clint Eastwoodís latest film J. Edgar, a biopic about the life of iconic lawman J. Edgar Hoover, finally has a date and location for its premiere. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it looks like Clint will unveil the film on November 3rd during the AFI Festival in Hollywood. This news comes after Clint balked at premiering the film at Venice, Telluride, and Toronto. The AFI opening will occur less than a week before its limited theatrical release.

Over the last few years, Clint seems to have been on a based-on-a-true-story kick. Heís covered a range of topics from WWII to famous abducting cases to inspirational soccer team triumphs. But this may be his most ambitious historical-based project to date. Sure, the scale of Word War II is much larger and requiring of enormous production design, but Clint has never before tackled important historical content from the vantage point of one figure. Biopics, by nature, have to be incredibly focused and make the audience care about its subject regardless that personís real life character defects. Iím interested to see the performance Clint elicits from Leonardo DiCaprio to make this connection with the audience.

So why premiere the film at the AFI Festival instead of one of the more noteworthy film fests? Itís possible that this may be a calculated Oscar play. Since the AFI Fest occurs right at the end of the year and at the dawn of awards season, perhaps Clint is hoping that his film does not get lost in the shuffle of other films at Venice or Telluride that are already receiving loads of attention and Oscar buzz. If he can ensure that his film is one of the last critics see before the voting gets into full swing, he improves his chances of it being remembered. Itís the same principal behind wanting to be the last person to interview for a job.

But then again, maybe this decision is not so Oscar-driven. Eastwood is a director who has proven himself time and time again as not only someone who makes quality films, his last few notwithstanding, but also as an artist whom the Academy loves to recognize. On top of that, his lead is Leonardo DiCaprio who has earned several nominations over the years. Iíd say heís got enough potential Oscar bait on his roster without throwing a Hail Mary with the premiere.
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