Paul Walter Hauser Lands Title Role in Clint Eastwood’s ‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell’

‘BlackKkKlansman’ star Paul Walter Hauser has booked the title role in Clint Eastwood’s upcoming movie ‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell.’ Based on the true story of a security guard who was tagged as a possible suspect of the “pipeline bombings” at Centennial Park during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, the movie marks Eastwood’s return to the director’s chair after the Warner Bros. flick ‘The Mule.’ Sam Rockwell joined the cast as Jewell’s lawyer earlier this week.

According to Deadline, the title role is a milestone in the career of Hauser who is known for his supporting roles in movies like ‘Late Night’ by Mindy Kaling, Oscar-winning ‘BlackKklansman’ by Spike Lee and ‘I, Tonya.’ by Craig Gillespie. He has also played a significant role in YouTube’s cult marital art series ‘Cobra Kai.’ His upcoming projects include Netflix’s ‘Da 5 Bloods,’ which reunites Hauser with director Spike Lee. The movie has wrapped up filming last month.

‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell’ is written by Billy Ray based on the 1997 Vanity Fair article from Marie Brenner. The plot follows Jewell’s ordeal of playing the hero and the villain in real-life on the same day. He was the person to find the dubious backpack in the stadium. As part of his duty, he pressed the alarms and played a key role in evacuating people. The media hailed him as a national hero who saved hundreds of lives. The authorities also praised the security guard for his role in rescue operations. However, the bomb went off, killing one person and injured several others.

Jewell’s popularity turns on its head when the same media frenzy billed him as a possible suspect. FBI raided his home twice the same night and Jewell went on to become the butt of jokes as an overweight cop and mama’s boy on television. The rampage continued till he was acquitted after three months of tremendous mental stress and embarrassment. He died of a heart attack at the age of 44.

The long-gestating project was initially set at Fox. But it went to Warner Bros. after the Disney-Fox merger considering the fact that Warner Bros. and Eastwood enjoy a longtime, successful partnership. Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio’s names were tagged with the project as lead actors at the earlier stages of development. Though they have not attached to the cast anymore, both the actors are still on board as executive producers alongside Tim Moore, Jessica Meier, Eastwood, and DiCaprio’s producing partners Jennifer Davisson Killoran and Kevin Misher.

Cover Image Courtesy: Neon (I, Tonya).