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Young Hollywood: Kirsten Dunst, Armie Hammer talk role preparation

November 9, 2011 | 12:58 pm

Armie Hammer and Kirsten Dunst at the Young Hollywood roundtable
When Armie Hammer showed up his first day of work on "J. Edgar" -- where he would be directed by Clint Eastwood and acting alongside Leonardo DiCaprio -- he wanted to make sure he was prepared.

So weeks before production began, the actor hired a researcher to help him dig up as much material as possible on his character, Clyde Tolson, who was J. Edgar Hoover's rumored lover. What he ended up with was a wealth of source material: more than 6,000 pages of research and thousands of photographs.

"At 25, that was a world that I will never know and I will never understand it because it's so drastically different than how we are raised and how we exist now," he said Friday at the Los Angeles Times' second annual Young Hollywood panel at AFI Fest, which also included Kirsten Dunst, Anton Yelchin and Evan Rachel Wood. "So that's really why I felt I had to do the research, because if I played this as a modern dude, I'd be the idiot who looked stupid next to Leonardo DiCaprio and Judi Dench and Naomi Watts, and I did not want that to happen."

Dunst seemed surprised by Hammer's level of preparation, admitting that she feels it's the "director's job" to help actors with research. While working on "Melancholia" with Lars von Trier, she said, the filmmaker used his own experiences to help the actress understand her character's depression.

"With Lars, he writes from a very personal place. So he talked to me a lot about his depression and some of the films in the film are actually scenes that he's experienced in real life," she said. "For him to be so vulnerable and open with me about that just made me very comfortable to feel free in whatever I was doing on the set."

There's more on how the young performers prepped for their recent roles in the clip below. Check back with 24 Frames this week, as we'll continue to post short videos with additional highlights from the conversation.


Hammer, Yelchin, Wood and Dunst set for Times roundtable

Young Hollywood: Yelchin, Wood, Hammer, Dunst on making it big

Young Hollywood: Hammer, Yelchin, Wood, Dunst on getting their starts

-- Amy Kaufman


Photo: Armie Hammer and Kirsten Dunst at the L.A. Times Young Hollywood roundtable. Credit: David Livingston / Getty Images

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