There’s a lot of evidence that they were incredibly unsuccessful being heterosexual, and at the very least, these men cared for each other greatly and wanted to spend their lives together. But in order to be truthful to the period, I could not have them talking about their love for each other. That was inaccurate. … And I do think a lot of people in the gay and lesbian community were hoping for that kind of film, but I think we have to be truthful about what gay life was like back then, and it looked nothing like it looks now.
— Dustin Lance Black talks about portraying the relationship between J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson in a way that was appropriate for the pre-Stonewall era.