September 7, 2011 / 3:50 PM / 8 years ago

Eastwood's "J. Edgar" to open AFI Fest in November

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio speaks at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's (HFPA) Annual Installation Luncheon in Beverly Hills, California August 4, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

LOS ANGELES ( - The AFI Fest has landed one of the awards season’s big contenders, announcing early Wednesday that Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar” will make its world premiere on the opening night of the Hollywood-based festival.

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, with a supporting cast that includes Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer and Judi Dench. Written by Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”), the film is one of the few major awards contenders not screening at the Venice, Telluride or Toronto festivals.

It will debut at AFI Fest the week before its November 9 limited opening.

Over the past decade, four other films directed by Eastwood have made the American Film Institute’s annual list of the year’s best movies: “Mystic River” in 2003, “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004, “Letters from Iwo Jima” in 2006 and “Gran Torino” in 2008.

“Clint Eastwood is an American icon — one whose work as a director, actor, producer and composer not only stands the test of time, but also continues to add new, rich chapters with each passing year,” AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale said in the news release announcing the booking. “What an honor it is for the American Film Institute to premiere his latest contribution to America’s cultural legacy.”

This year’s AFI Fest, the 25th, will take place November 3-10 at the Chinese Theater, the Chinese 6 multiplex, the Egyptian Theater and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, all in Hollywood. For the third consecutive year, tickets will be available to the public free of charge for most screenings, though the opening-night gala will only be open to guests and buyers of special patron packages.

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