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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 longtime 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.
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