If you don’t happen to remember Richard Jewell you might be too young to remember or weren’t paying attention to the bombing that took place at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. The amount of grief this man went through for finding the bomb that would eventually detonate and kill one person and injure around one hundred others was deemed absolutely ridiculous by some and a sure sign that the FBI simply needed a culprit when their investigations didn’t provide enough for their liking. There are a great many other factors that went into this matter, but the fact is that Richard was put through hell upon being suspected as the bomber, and then raked over the coals when it was assumed that he’d done this to gain publicity for himself. He was absolutely lambasted by the media and in the end it was seen that many sources had to settle with him thanks to their shoot from the hip style of reporting.
Now it would seem that Clint Eastwood is wanting to take over the movie that will focus on Jewell’s life, casting Paul Walter Hauser in the role of Jewell. Eastwood actually passed on this movie a while back while Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill seemed primed to take the leading roles at one point. But of course nothing ever came of those attempts, and now here we are in 2019 with Clint taking up the cause again. It’s hard to know what spurred him on but with Eastwood at the helm you can imagine that the movie is going to be something gripping and possibly even a little more tragic than we can imagine. It’s a bit sad to think that Jewell won’t get to see it since he passed away in the early 2000s at the age of 44, but there’s not a lot of doubt that Clint will treat the movie with a great deal of respect that will allow it to become something rather unique.
You might remember Hauser from I, Tonya as he played the part of Tonya’s ‘security guard’ Shawn Eckhardt, the man that supposedly started a lot of the mess according to the movie. So far in his career Hauser has been laughable to watch since he tends to play roles that paint his character in a rather comical light. His portrayal of Shawn was something that made viewers either hate him or simply laugh at him, or both. In Super Troopers 2 it was quite a bit of the same, but in this movie it would seem that there’s going to be less humor and more of an emphasis on the life of a man that was unjustly accused by the FBI and roasted by a media and populace that were far too quick to believe the worst.
The settlements he reached were quite hefty as Gary Levin from Variety wrote years ago that CNN actually settled for a large sum but still denied that their reporting was anything but fair. It’s kind of funny to think that a news channel that thinks they’re in the right would pay a settlement while trying to maintain their integrity, but that’s the past. This movie seems as though it might seek to look at things in a, hopefully, level-headed manner that won’t heavily favor either side, seeking instead to tell the tale and see what comes of it. When thinking of how poorly this man was treated it’s hard to take any media site or channel seriously these days since not only did the FBI jump on his case in a heartbeat, but the news media followed like a pack of starving hounds looking to take their bite when they were allowed to do so.
Richard Jewell was initially lauded as a hero for discovering the bomb, but that sudden reversal of turning him into the bad guy was something that was hard to watch since it gave people free license it seemed to say and write things about him that were absolutely horrible. The fact that people he’d known for a while, worked for, and might have trusted, would turn on him as well and hang him out to dry was even worse. That’s the power the media in this country seems to have unfortunately, the moment a ‘valid’ resource says something people hop on it without asking a single question or seeking to verify the ‘facts’ they’re being given. In all fairness the media made their own assumptions as the FBI was going about turning this man’s life inside out, but the storm they created by stating their opinions and allowing it be taken as fact didn’t help in the least bit. With Clint Eastwood, so far, desiring to make this movie it’s a hope that Richard Jewell will be shown in a more even-handed light. His name was cleared years go, now his tale needs to be told to remind people.