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Leonardo DiCaprio is no stranger to bringing real-life personalities to life.
He’s portrayed aviator Howard Hughes, criminal Frank Abagnale Jr. and France’s King Louis XIV, among others.
Now, the actor’s bringing legendary FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to life on the big screen in Clint Eastwood‘s drama, J. Edgar, opening Nov. 9.
And, DiCaprio, who has been nominated for three Oscars, says it was Hoover’s mysterious persona that drew him to the role.
“The more I researched, the more intrigued I became,” he told THR. “I don’t think you could ever know everything about him, but I felt I understood what drove him.”
Not that he agreed with his policies.
“I think he started off with good intentions, but I completely disagree with a lot of his tactics,” said DiCaprio. “I grew to have more respect for him and what he did; but like him? I don’t think I liked what I understood of him, his ideals or beliefs.”
The actor also discussed trying to put on weight for the role, which required him to play the FBI director from ages 24 to 77 years old.
“I really wanted to take a break and do the whole real physical transformation. Of course, the film wouldn’t allow it,” DiCaprio told Access Hollywood. “It was a massive amount of weight to put on in a very short amount of time. So thankfully I had a lot of people around to help me in that transformation and I think it turned out pretty well.”
To complete the physical transformation, DiCaprio wore facial prosthetics, two layered pairs of contact lenses and an augmenter inside of his nose to make one nostril protrude.
“I hope I don’t look anything like that!” he told Us Weekly of growing old himself. And, after spending five to six hours in a makeup chair each day, the actor said the physical difference helped to affect his acting.
“You have to sort of slow down your pace. You have to change every movement and you have to speak in a way that gets the audience to believe that you have 50 years of political experience under your belt, which is something I don’t have!”
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