Clint Eastwood is headed back to his longtime home Warner Bros, which has picked up the director’s The Ballad Of Richard Jewell, the project that had been set up at Disney-Fox and that Deadline told you last month Eastwood was helming next.
The film is being produced by Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson, who along with Eastwood have a deal at WB, making this shift in studios confirmed Friday less than a shocker. Jonah Hill and Kevin Misher are also producing along with Malipaso’s Eastwood, Tim Moore and Jessica Meier, and Misher Films’ Andy Berman.
Eastwood, who last directed Warners’ The Mule, will start shooting next month.
Hill was at one time attached to play Jewell, the security guard whose life was turned upside down after it was leaked by law enforcement to a reporter that he was a possible suspect in the Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. DiCaprio was eyeing the role of Jewell’s lawyer, a family friend who mostly did real estate closings before being enveloped by a case that had international media attention.
Eastwood is now setting up his own cast for the project, and the logical next step we’re hearing is that Hill will re-attach as Jewell. The pic is based on the Vanity Fair article “The Ballad Of Richard Jewel.” Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) adapted the script.
The film centers on Jewell, who 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. 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 age 44.
Variety first broke news of the move Friday.