It's been a long road for The Ballad of Richard Jewell and Clint Eastwood. In development at Fox since 2014, Eastwood had been in talks to direct the film but ultimate shifted to another project. Then, with Disney's acquisition of Fox complete, the project shifted to Disney with Eastwood once again looking to direct. Now, the film is undergoing another shift -- this time to Warner Bros. with Eastwood on board.
As reported by Collider, Disney has decided to drop Ballad, allowing Eastwood to team up with Warner Bros. to take on the project. The film will tell the true story of Richard Jewell, a security guard who was identified by the media as a possible suspect in the bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. At the time, Jewell discovered a suspicious backpack at the Olympic compound and cleared the area, thus saving lives as the bomb did actually detonate, killing one person and injuring many others. However, while initially hailed as a hero, soon after he was falsely accused of placing the bomb there and despite the FBI clearing Jewell as a suspect just three months later, his reputation never fully recovered. His health also suffered, with Jewell dying just over a decade later in 2007 at the age of 44 from a heart attack.
The film had originally been set to see Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio star in the film, but now the pair are currently attached in producer roles only. They will be joined as producers by Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Kevin Misher, Tim Moore, and Jessica Meier. The script for Ballad was written by Billy Ray and is based on Marie Brenner's Vanity Fair article also named "The Ballad of Richard Jewell".
For Eastwood, the move to Warner Bros is a familiar one. His production company has worked with Warner Bros. for many years. Eastwood is currently on board to both produce and direct Ballad. It's reported that Eastwood is hoping to begin shooting the film later this year, so casting is expected to be underway soon with it possible that Hill will sign on again to play Jewell.
Eastwood's most recent film, The Mule, opened in theaters last December.
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