Sam Rockwell Joins Clint Eastwood’s ‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell’

Oscar winner Sam Rockwell is in final negotiations to join Clint Eastwood’s upcoming movie ‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell.’ The ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri‘ star will play the role of an attorney who defends the titular character, Jewell, after he is wrongly accused, reports Variety. Apart from directing the project, Eastwood is producing through his home banner Malpaso in association with Tim Moore, Jessica Meier and Leonardo DiCaprio’s partners Jennifer Davisson Killoran and Kevin Misher. Jonah Hill and DiCaprio join the project as executive producers.

The Warner Bros. movie is based on the life of a security guard named Richard Jewell, whose life turns upside down when the authorities and media wrongly corner him as the possible suspect of the “pipe-bombing” at Centennial Park during the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996. Jewell’s ordeal stars when a source in the law enforcement reportedly leaks crucial information to a reporter, who breaks it as a scoop.

In fact, Jewell was the first person to find a dubious looking backpack containing pipe bombs and press the alarms. Later, he helped the authorities to evacuate the area. The media frenzy soon hailed him as a national hero who saved hundreds of lives. But his heroic image didn’t last long as the FBI rushed into his home twice the same night while the overzealous media tagged him as a possible suspect behind the bombings. In the media trial that followed, Jewell had been crowned as a ridiculous, hated and overweight cope who failed to execute his duty. He went through severe body shaming and mental torture for the next 88 days. He was declared clean by the FBI after nearly three months.

Rockwell will play the attorney who defends and supports Jewell during his nightmarish days of questioning. The character of Jewell is yet to find an actor. DiCaprio was originally set to play the character of the lawyer along with Jonah Hill as the titular security guard. But both the actors will no longer attach to the movie as cast members. Eastwood directs the movie from a script by Billy Ray, which is inspired by an article published in Vanity Fair by Marie Brenner.

Though the project was originally set for Fox, it moved to Warner Bros. after the Disney-Fox merger, considering the successful and longtime partnership between the director and the production house. Though Eastwood is yet to finalize the actor to play his Jewell, Rockwell’s casting has aroused curiosity around the project. Rockwell’s recent works include ‘Vice’ and ‘The Best of Enemies.’ His upcoming project is the long-awaited World War II drama ‘Jojo Rabbit’ from Taika Waititi.

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