LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10: Clint Eastwood arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "The Mule" at the Village Theatre on December 10, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Clint Eastwood interested in creating Richard Jewell film

Originally posted Friday, April 19, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Deadline reports that Clint Eastwood is interested in directing a film about Richard Jewell, the man falsely accused of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing. 

The film will be based on a 2007 Vanity Fair story called “The Ballad of Richard Jewell” and an upcoming Abrams Press book about the case called “The Suspect” by Kent Alexander and Kevin Salwen (who was my direct boss at the Wall Street Journal from 1997 to 2000.)

Jewell was a security guard at the park during the 1996 Olympics on July 27. He spied a suspicious-looking backpack and asked people to move away. It exploded soon after killing one and injuring more than 100.

>>RELATED: Key facts about the 1996 Olympic Park bombing

Originally dubbed a hero, Jewell became a target of suspicion by the F.B.I. eager to seek a culprit. Media outlets - including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which broke the news - ran with the story. Ultimately, he was cleared of any wrongdoing but his life was never the same. Later, Eric Rudolph was found to be the man behind the bomb and he is now in prison for life.

Security guard and hero Richard Jewell poses on Sunday, July 28, 1996 across from the tower where he found a bomb and warned visitors at Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. (AJC Staff Photo/William Berry) 7/96

Jewell did become a police officer later but died of a heart attack in 2007 at age 44. He sued several media outlets for their coverage and received some compensation. The AJC fought his libel lawsuit and the case was eventually thrown out by the Georgia Court of Appeals in 2011.

In 2014, Jonah Hill was set to play Jewell and Leo DiCaprio as Jewell’s attorney Watson Bryant. It didn’t happen.

The Deadline story said Eastwood has not cast the film yet but would like to have it produced by this summer. 

Eastwood has shot multiple films in Atlanta, including his most recent work “The Mule.” It would be a no brainer for him to come back to Atlanta for this film since it is actually based here. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.