For Armie Hammer, "J. Edgar" hit a little close to home.
In Clint Eastwood's new film, which was released on Wednesday, November 9, the 25-year-old actor plays the assistant and rumored lover of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio. Hammer is named after his great-grandfather, Armand, who ran a multi-million dollar oil company and who Hoover had investigated.
"I was familiar a little bit with J. Edgar's infamy because he had a grudge against my great-grandfather," Hammer told OnTheRedCarpet.com. "He was just like one of the guys that he went after or something like that, so going through the trash, people following him, phone-tapping, like that kind of thing."
Hammer's great-grandfather was investigated mostly due to his business ties in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The man died of bone marrow cancer in 1990.
"I heard those stories growing up, so when I picked up the script and read it for the first time, it wasn't really like, 'Wow, he did all this, this and this?' It was like, 'Oh, wow, that was true? Interesting.'"
Hammer said it was "good to see" the "very fragile and damaged human side" of Hoover depicted in "J. Edgar."
"I think a lot of people are familiar with the dates and historical events but seeing this human element, I think was nice," he said, adding: "It's a really good look at how far we have come but also how far we have to go. If you look at people still abusing power and people doing things that are the necessary evils and stuff like that ... we're still doing a lot of the same things right now." Hammer is also known for playing the Winklevoss twins in the 2010 film "The Social Network." He is also is set to play the prince in Brett Ratner's "Snow White" film, which stars Julia Roberts as the evil queen. The actor is also working on Disney's reboot of "The Lone Ranger" alongside Johnny Depp. The film is set for release in 2013.
Watch the trailer for "J. Edgar" below.
Reporting by Cari Skillman of KABC Television, which produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).