Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to release the movie ‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell,’ with Clint Eastwood directing the long-gestating project. According to Variety, the project has been set up at Fox-Disney since 2014. Jonah Hill was initially attached to the project to play the central character Richard Jewell while Leonardo DiCaprio portrays his attorney who guides him through the court procedures. Though the project didn’t take off, both the actors serve as producers in the Warner Bros. flick.
‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell’ is based on the story of a security guard who finds himself cornered as the possible suspect of Atlanta’s Centennial Park bombings during the 1996 Summer Olympics. The movie is written by Billy Ray based on the 1997 Vanity Fair article of the same name by Marie Brenner.
The plot follows Jewell’s ordeal of turning into a villain from a national hero overnight. When the news of the bombing broke out, media hailed the security person who rang the police and played a crucial role in evacuating the place, a heroic figure. The authorities also showered praise on Jewell for his role in rescue operations. However, the bomb went off, killing one person and injured several others.
Initially hailed as a hero, Jewell was soon billed as the prime suspect when the FBI raided his home twice. The media reinvented the national hero as a disgraced cop who failed his duty. He became the butt of the late-night jokes as an overweight mama’s boy. Jewell was acquitted after three months of media frenzy and mental torture. He died of a heart attack in 2007 at the age of 44.
Apart from Hill and DiCaprio, Tim Moore, Jessica Meier, Eastwood, DiCaprio’s partners Jennifer Davisson Killoran and Kevin Misher are also producing ‘Richard Jewell.’
Ezra Edelman, who is known for the acclaimed documentary ‘O.J.: Made in America,’ was initially attached to the project as a director when it was first announced at the Fox. But Eastwood stepped in later as the helmer. With Disney’s acquisition of Fox in March, the ongoing projects came under new divisional mandates. According to reports, the studio decided that ‘Richard Jewell’ should go to Warner Bro. Moreover, Eastwood has always called Warner Bros. his longtime home.
‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell’ reunites Eastwood with Warner Bros. after the director’s last movie ‘The Mule.’ The movie, in which Eastwood and Bradley Cooper play the lead roles, grossed $171.3 million at the global box office. ‘The Mule,’ in which Eastwood plays the character of Earl Stone, marked his return to the acting job after a long time. The movie is based on the true story of a 90-year-old horticulturist who smuggled hundreds of kilos of cocaine across America before caught by the DEA.
Cover Image Courtesy: Warner Bros. (The Mule)