Clint Eastwood has found his Richard Jewell. Paul Walter Hauser, who gave memorable performances in I, Tonya and BlacKkKlansman, will play the title character in Eastwood’s latest, Richard Jewell. Hauser joins previously-announced cast member Sam Rockwell, who is playing Jewell’s lawyer, who defended the security guard against allegations he planted a bomb at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
THR broke the news that Paul Walter Hauser has joined the Richard Jewell cast. In 1996, Jewell was a security guard at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where he noticed a suspicious bag in Centennial Olympic Park. Jewell realized the bag contained an explosive device, and cleared out most of the onlookers. The bomb detonated, though, resulting in two deaths and 111 injuries. The damage – and death toll – could’ve been a lot worse had Jewell not acted.
However, Jewell quickly went from hero to villain when the FBI, and the media – following the FBI’s lead – considered the security guard to be the prime suspect. It took 88 days before Jewell’s name was cleared, but by then, his reputation was in tatters. The entire story – and source material for the movie – was chronicled in a piece for Vanity Fair story The Ballad of Richard Jewell by Marie Brenner.
At one point in development, before Clint Eastwood came on board to direct, Jonah Hill was going to play the role of Jewell. Hauser is a great choice, though. He’s been turning in a steady stream of character actor work and supporting roles, and now he’ll get to be front and center. He’ll co-star alongside Sam Rockwell, who is playing Jewell’s lawyer, Watson Bryant.
This entire project sounds like the type of thing destined for awards season glory, and I’m sure Hauser and Rockwell will bring their A-game. However, I remain a little skeptical about Eastwood’s involvement. Eastwood can be a fantastic director, and he’s spent this latter half of his career directing films based on true stories – just like this. But his style is so incredibly lax and laid-back that it borders on boring. I know he still has he defenders, but I miss the Clint Eastwood who directed masterpieces like Unforgiven. If that Eastwood shows his head, rather than the Eastwood who directed, say, Sully, this film will be in good shape.
No word yet on a release date for Richard Jewell, but Eastwood works fast, so I imagine it won’t take too long to hit theaters.
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