Shortly before the arrival of Covid-19 in France and the closing of cinemas, Clint Eastwood had time to present his new film: “Le Cas Richard Jewell”. Based on a true story, we wanted to focus on the reality that inspired the filmmaker.
The Richard Jewell Case : Clint Eastwood continues his tributes to anonymous heroes
In February 2020, Clint Eastwood offers his fans his new achievement: The Richard Jewell Case. Worn by Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde, the feature film is part of a rather special movement in the career of Clint Eastwood. Indeed, The Richard Jewell Case is located in a continuity of films centered on unknown heroes, with new destinies (american sniper in 2015, Sully in 2016 and 3:17 p.m. for Paris in 2018).
With an Oscar nomination and only $43 million in box office receipts (for a budget of 45 million), The Richard Jewell Case has been a financial failure for Warner and Clint Eastwood. However, the feature film has received positive critical feedback, in particular thanks to its fascinating story. The story tells of the fate of Richard Jewell, who in 1996 was one of the first to warn of the presence of a bomb during the Atlanta Games. But the hero quickly finds himself suspected of terrorism, going from the stage of savior to that of the most hated man in the United States.
Focus on the true story behind the film
Obviously, The Richard Jewell Case is inspired by real events, and Clint Eastwood tried to stay as true to reality as possible. Thus, on July 27, 1996, during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Richard Jewell, then a member of the security of the event, discovered a bag hidden behind a bench. This contains a powerful explosive. Richard Jewell reacted quickly and allowed the crowd to evacuate in time, thus limiting the number of injuries. He was then hailed as a hero by the press. who made it his darling for a few days, before the situation turned around. FBI opens investigation into Richard Jewell and accuses him of planting the bomb himself and then pretending to be a hero. Thereby, for 88 days, Richard Jewell remains in the sights of the FBI who will not let go of the piece.
Clint Eastwood has therefore decided to tell the misadventures of this ordinary man, caught in an endless spiral. Screenwriter Billy Ray, who worked alongside Eastwood, was based on a article of Vanity Fair written by Marie Brenner in 1997. The journalist was there just after the attack. She then spent a lot of time with Richard Jewell, with his mother Bobi Jewell and with their lawyer Watson Bryant. She remembers that:
In 1996, the police were obsessed with ‘profiling’, and in the frenzy that must have reigned in the police offices after the bombing, they looked at this good, slightly eccentric guy who had found the bomb and they say, ‘It’s the lone terrorist theory!’ It turned into a witch hunt, a term now overused but which perfectly describes what happened to Richard. With Bobi, they were under excessive pressure and could have cracked at any time. My time in Atlanta and my relationship with Richard had a profound impact on me as a journalist. It’s rare that a story obsesses me so much and it’s even rarer that I stay in touch with the people I’ve investigated. I ended up making it my mission to bring justice to this man.
The best reconstruction possible
Clint Eastwood, as a great filmmaker, did not want to leave anything to chance. The filmmaker took advantage of The Richard Jewell Case to make an impressive reconstruction. Already, the choice of Paul Walter Hauser is one of the best ideas of the film. Clint Eastwood also remembers the effect the actor had on Bobi Jewell (played by Kathy Bates in the film):
Attorney Watson Bryant and Bobi Jewell were in the studio and our casting director introduced them to Paul Walter Hauser. It was a shock for her because Paul looks a lot like Richard. After that first impression passed, she admitted that Paul would be perfect for the role.
Eastwood and his team obviously pieced together many elements of the story. The sets, the Atlanta games, Centennial Park, journalist Kathy Scruggs’ newsroom, etc. Clint Eastwood even went so far as to recreate the FBI interrogation as faithfully as possible. The authentic images of this meeting have…