EXCLUSIVE: Clint Eastwood is circling to next direct The Ballad Of Richard Jewell, and has been in discussions with Disney/Fox drama based on the life of a security guard whose life was turned upside down in a moment after it was leaked by law enforcement to a reporter that Jewell was a possible suspect in the Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. From the moment he was outed by an article written by an overzealous reporter at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Jewell went from hero to one of the most hated men in America.
The script is by Billy Ray (Captain Phillips). Eastwood flirted with the project once before.
Jewell discovered a suspicious backpack in the Olympics compound, cleared the area and saved lives that day, but after he was falsely accused he became a pariah. The project, based on the Vanity Fair article The Ballad Of Richard Jewell was originally set at 20th Century Fox.
Jonah Hill was once attached to play Jewell, and Leonardo DiCaprio once circled the role as Jewell’s lawyer who was a family friend who mostly did real estate closings before being enveloped by a case that had international media attention. I’m told no one is attached right now and Eastwood will assemble his own cast with hopes of shooting in the summer.
Even though the FBI cleared Jewell as a suspect three months later, the true American hero never fully got his reputation back or his confidence in himself, and his health was forever damaged. Jewell, who later became a police officer, died in 2007 of a heart attack at the age of 44.
The film will be produced by Appian Way’s DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson, Hill and Kevin Misher, the latter of whom brought in the article. Misher Films’ Andy Berman also will have a producing role. Mike Ireland is overseeing for Fox.
Eastwood last directed The Mule.
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