In the early hours of July 27, 1996, a bomb attack took place during the Atlanta Olympics in the United States. The explosive detonated at Centennial Olympic Park, killing one person and injuring more than a hundred. The event could have resulted in an even more dramatic toll had it not been for Richard Jewell, a security guard at the event who spotted the device. Jewell, a thirtysomething hired that summer at the Games, spotted a suspicious package and, raising the alarm, began evacuating Centennial concertgoers from the area, saving many lives. However, the subsequent FBI investigation investigated him as suspected of having planted the explosive himself, triggering a media campaign of harassment and demonization of Jewell, although the body eventually acknowledged his innocence. In 2019, Clint Eastwood told the story of him in Richard Jewellone of the last great jewels of his career, which is available on HBO Max.
Richard Jewell: one of the best late Clint Eastwood movies
Seemingly immune to old age, the eternal gunslinger is turning out big movies in the final stretch of his directing career, and despite being a box-office flop—it grossed a couple of million dollars less than it cost to make— Richard Jewell it is one of the best. It is a more than reliable biographical drama based on a Vanity Fair report, written by Marie Brenner and published in 1997, and on the 2019 book on the subject. The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle. Initially, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, colleagues from The wolf of Wall Street, were to produce and star in the film, with Hill playing Richard Jewell and DiCaprio playing his lawyer. However, after several years of comings and goings, the actors took a step back to dedicate themselves solely to producing the film, and Clint Eastwood took the reins of direction. Thus, Paul Walter Hauser ended up playing Jewell, with Sam Rockwell as his lawyer, Kathy Bates as his mother, Bobi Jewell; Jon Hamm, the star of Mad Menas FBI agent Tom Shaw and Olivia Wilde as journalist Kathy Scruggs.
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The film encountered considerable reluctance when it came to its portrayal of this latest royal figure, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution letter boarder who died of a drug overdose in 2001. In particular, critics charged that Eastwood’s film portrayed the character of Olivia Wilde as a woman willing to have sex with an FBI officer in exchange for confidential information. In a statement, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief at the time of the premiere said that the portrayal of Scruggs in that scene was “completely false and malicious.” He was joined by other newspaper employees, demanding that the film include a notice that some events had been dramatized as artistic license. Instead, the actress herself, far from joining the criticism that the story perpetuated certain prejudices against women journalists, closed ranks with Eastwood, defending her role and denouncing the sexist double standards that led critics to cry out against her character but not against that of Jon Hamm, equally involved in that sexual relationship.
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Richard Jewell: one of the great jewels of Clint Eastwood is on HBO Max