We first reported on this story in April 2015, but the project was eventually dropped when Clint went on to make Sully. Several reports have circulated over the last day or so indicating that Clint is now returning to this project and with the original two leads when the story first raised its head. The original production was to have Jonah Hill playing Richard Jewell, the security guard credited with saving many lives at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta when he cleared people from the area after discovering a suspicious backpack before the bomb within it exploded. Jewell was promptly plunged into a weird sort of hell after saving all those people when he was accused of being the terrorist who planted the bomb in the Olympic compound. Leonardo DiCaprio was to play Jewell’s friend and lawyer, who helped him get cleared of terrorism charges despite only having experience in real estate closings.
Here’s the reports from The Hollywood Reporter and The Quint
Clint Eastwood Aims to Direct Film About 1996 Atlanta Olympics' Security Guard
Clint Eastwood is angling to direct The Ballad of Richard Jewell, Fox’s long-gestating take on the security guard who went from hero to suspect at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
If Eastwood does board the Richard Jewell project, it would mark the first time since he helmed Changeling in 2008 that he has directed for another studio other than Warner Bros., his long time home base.
Ezra Edelman, who directed the Oscar-winning documentary O.J.: Made in America, was earlier attached to direct Jonah Hill in the role of Jewell. Hill's Wolf of Wall Street cohort Leonardo DiCaprio will produce the movie with partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran.
Jewell worked as a security guard at the '96 Summer Games when he discovered a backpack containing pipe bombs, subsequently sounding the alarm and helping to clear the area. However, the bomb did detonate, killing one person and injuring dozens of others. Initially hailed as a hero, Jewell was soon the prime suspect, as the FBI searched his home twice. A media frenzy painted him as an overweight failed cop and mama's boy, and he became the punchline for late-night jokes.
Jewell was vilified but ultimately cleared. Despite apologies from the FBI and other agencies, he couldn’t escape the sad nature his life spiraled into and died in 2007 at the age of 44 due to health issues linked to his weight.
Eastwood may direct 'The Ballad of Richard Jewell'
Los Angeles, April 19 (IANS) Veteran actor Clint Eastwood might direct "The Ballad of Richard Jewell", a look at a security guard whose life gets turned upside down after media reports identified him as a possible suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing.
The film is currently set up at Disney/Fox and could reunite Eastwood with Alan Horn, the current Disney Studios chief who worked with the filmmaker when he was in charge of Warner Bros motion picture division.
Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio had originally been attached to star, but they will no longer appear in the movie. Their involvement will be limited to producing the film, reports variety.com. Eastwood's involvement could change. He circled the project several years ago before opting to direct "Sully" with Tom Hanks. Director Ezra Edelman was last person to consider the project.
DiCaprio's business partners Jennifer Davisson Killoran, and Kevin Misher are also producing. "Captain Phillips" screenwriter Billy Ray is writing the script, which will be based on a Marie Brenner article in Vanity Fair.
Jewell reported on the knapsack bomb at the 1996 Summer Games and helped clear bystanders - only to find himself vilified and suspected of being involved in the terrorism plot.
He was cleared as a suspect three months later and died in 2007 of a heart attack at the age of 44.