Clint Eastwood eyes J. Edgar Hoover project

Teaming with Imagine on screenplay from 'Milk' scribe

Clint Eastwood is lining up his next directing project, a biopic of controversial FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Eastwood is teaming with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment on the pic, which was initially set up at Universal, where Imagine has been developing it. Dustin Lance Black, who wrote biopic "Milk," penned the script.

Hoover was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935 and turned it into an efficient crimefighting organization. He remained its director until his death in 1972, but his sculpted persona was already coming apart at the seams; he employed the FBI to harass political activists and used illegal methods to make secret files on leaders. Many biographies also assert the man was a closeted homosexual and cross-dresser.

The Hoover project isn't set up at a studio, though it will most likely end up at Warner Bros., where Eastwood and his Malpaso shingle are based, as a Malpaso-Imagine production. Malpaso's Robert Lorenz also would serve as a producer in addition to Eastwood and Grazer.

There is a small connection between Hoover and the studio: Warners hired Hoover to act as a consultant on its 1959 movie "The FBI Story" and on the ABC spinoff series "The F.B.I."

Eastwood, who is in post on his drama "Hereafter," worked with Imagine in 2008 on the 1920s-set Angelina Jolie drama "The Changeling."
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