After an uneven 2018 (The 15:17 to Paris: awful; The Mule: weirdly good, emphasis on the weird), Clint Eastwood is hoping to return to Oscar glory with Richard Jewell. Based on the Vanity Fair article, “American Nightmare — The Ballad of Richard Jewell,” the drama stars I, Tonya breakout Paul Walter Hauser as the security guard who became known for reporting a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. But soon after, “the law enforcement wannabe becomes the FBI’s number one suspect, vilified by press and public alike, his life ripped apart,” as the official plot summary reads:
Reaching out to independent, anti-establishment attorney Watson Bryant, Jewell staunchly professes his innocence. But Bryant finds he is out of his depth as he fights the combined powers of the FBI, GBI and APD to clear his client’s name, while keeping Richard from trusting the very people trying to destroy him.
“Clint seemed broken up about the story of Richard Jewell. It still bothered him years later,” Hauser told USA Today about why Eastwood wanted to make Richard Jewell (with a screenplay from Captain Phillips writer Billy Ray). “He sounded like he was hurting for that family, and wanted the story to come out.” The interrogation scenes between Jewell and the authorities are on brand for Clint, too — that guy loves his dimly-lit rooms.
Richard Jewell, which also stars Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, and Olivia Wilde, opens on December 13, during the heart of awards season.