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Armie Hammer Is Ready to Age Several Decades for J. Edgar

We mused this week that Sony is running the strongest Oscar campaign of the year for The Social Network, and at last night's party for the film at Spago in Los Angeles, you could feel that confidence. Eschewing the sort of party Mark Zuckerberg might throw (Beck's and an indifferently proffered cheese plate, perhaps?) for Champagne and lamb, the event was billed as a party to celebrate the film's release on DVD and Blu-ray, but a home video party doesn't typically boast every star on hand, plus David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin. Still, despite the presence of Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, and Jesse Eisenberg, the belle of the ball was definitely Armie Hammer, the sort of person who sticks out in a crowd (he's six-foot-five, after all) and draws well-wisher after well-wisher. "What is going on?" laughed a good-natured Hammer to Vulture. "I don't know who any of these people are!"

After doing months of Social Network press, Hammer was eager to talk about his upcoming film J. Edgar, where Clint Eastwood will direct him opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, who's got the plum role of the notoriously closeted J. Edgar Hoover. Hammer will play the lovestruck, sensitive Clyde Toulson, who pines for Hoover and — after an altercation between the two men gives way to an onscreen kiss — ultimately becomes the FBI director's closest companion. (Hammer was excited by the recent addition of Judi Dench to the cast: "The Dame plays Hoover's mother. Really perfect.")

Though the script mainly follows Hoover and Toulson as strapping young men, there are several flash-forwards that present the duo aged into their seventies. No older versions of the men have yet been cast, so does that mean that Hammer and DiCaprio are going to don prosthetics? "I'm playing Toulson up to his elderly age!" Hammer confirmed. "Makeup stuff comes within the next couple weeks. We're definitely doing a lot of wardrobe stuff right now, but the makeup stuff we haven't done yet." Can Hammer adjust from working with Fincher — who's notorious for demanding upwards of a hundred takes — to someone like Eastwood, who rarely asks for more than two? "We'll see," he said, grinning. "I hope so. I sincerely hope so!"

Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic