Though most people liked The Mule, Clint Eastwood’s recent films have been — how do I put this lightly? — the opposite of what people would call good. The man is a legend and still a legitimate talent in Hollywood but he has seemed even more detached from his productions lately. And though he was never a boisterous fellow, he seems to be lacking even more passion as his career goes on. That’s too bad because he was on a roll for awhile.
Eastwood will get another chance to prove that he’s still got some fire in his belly with his next project. His planned film about media sensation/scapegoat/punchline Richard Jewell has found a new home at Warner Bros after it was let go from Fox following the Disney/Fox merger. Like almost every film on Fox’s docket, it seemed like the project could have gone either way. Disney could have held onto it, seeing as a possible Oscar contender, or they could have dropped it completely. Luckily they decided to send the film to WB, who have long been home to Eastwood’s work. Their reason for letting it go probably had to do with the fact that they’re only looking to make big, BIG movies from here on out. As I’ve said before, that could have a dangerous effect on the rest of Hollywood.
But I digress. Despite Eastwood’s shoddy work lately, this is a story worth telling. You may remember Jewell’s depressing tale. He was a security guard at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He found a suspicious backpack and cleared the area but not before the homemade explosive in the backpack detonated, killing one and injuring others. He was originally hailed as a hero but, as we so often do, Americans turned their backs on Jewell and he quickly became the major suspect for the bombing. He also became a late night talk show target and tabloid fixture. In the end, he was completely cleared of any wrongdoing but the damage was done. He died in 2007 at the young age of 44.
Eastwood’s movie will be based on a Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner. Jonah Hill was once attached to star as Jewell with Leonardo DiCaprio co-starring as Jewell’s attorney. Both Hill and DiCaprio are no longer starring but will still produce. As to who will play Jewell? Your guess is as good as mine, there are plenty of fine young actors who could nail it (Jesse Plemmons?) but whoever gets the part could be in serious contention for some awards. Call your agents, gentlemen.