Hammer of the Gods


By Dustin Lance Black

Armie Hammer speaks to Dustin Lance Black about playing Hoover's love interest and kissing DiCaprio.

Black: It seems to me that you, more than anyone else in the cast, talked publicly about the kissing scenes.

Hammer: It's not a big deal! It's always the first question that people ask: "How's kissing Leo? How is it doing the gay scene?" What the fuck? It's the same thing! If I do a scene with an actress, that's not the first thing that anybody asks me about, because it's kind of inappropriate. I had to shoot a machine gun in the movie, too. I don’t know how to shoot a machine gun, but they hand it to you and they go, "Shoot it," and you go, "OK." There are so many more things I was thinking about in that scene than just, "Oh my God, I’m about to kiss Leonardo DiCaprio! Oh my God, I'm about to kiss a guy."

Black: How do you think the themes of this film apply to the present?

Hammer: It's like a reflection of a time that has passed, and, if not totally passed, then one that will soon be passed. If you come out now and say, "You know what? I'm gay, and I'm proud of it," people almost pat you on the back. They'll say things like, "Good for you, do your thing."

Black: So you think this film is going back to a time that you hope is almost over?

Hammer: Yes, because there's just no place for that in the world anymore. Just like soon there won't be a place anymore for nationalities because the world is becoming so small. What does it really mean to feel you're from this place or you're from this state? "I'm from Arkansas, where are you from?" "You're from Nebraska, what is it like there?!" No. The world is becoming so small that there's not going to be a place for, "Where are you from, or what’s your sexual orientation?" That's very archaic.

Black: Did you have any resistance from your family or anyone who’s close to you about getting involved with this film?

Hammer: Yes, for sure. My mom's family is very old-school; they're from Oklahoma. My grandpa lived through the Depression, very old-fashioned; he's like a preacher. But it wasn't he who had a problem with it. He said, "That's fantastic!" He was so happy for me, which was really interesting. But then, there were definitely people who were like, "No, dude, you can't do this, you can't play these kinds of parts!" Why? Why do you have such an issue with me playing this part? It's unlike anything else I've played before. That's why I’m an actor.

J. Edgar is out in theaters now. Also in Out, a review of the film.