Paul Walter Hauser (“BlacKkKlansman,” “Cobra Kai”) has been set to star in the title role in Clint Eastwood’s “The Ballad of Richard Jewell,” the film about the security guard who went from hero to suspect at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Jonah Hill was initially attached to play Jewell, with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to play his attorney. The two remain connected as producers, but now Hauser is Jewell while Sam Rockwell is in talks to portray said attorney.
Jewell was working as a security guard at the Olympics when he discovered a backpack containing pipe bombs and subsequently sounded the alarm and helped to clear the area.
However, the bomb did detonate, killing one person and injuring dozens of others. Initially hailed as a hero, Jewell was soon the prime suspect as the FBI searched his home twice.
A media frenzy painted him as an overweight failed cop and mama’s boy, and he became the punchline for late-night jokes. Later he was cleared, but the damage had been done. Lawsuits followed with numerous agencies forced to make public apologies.
Originally set up in 2014 at Fox, the project is now at Warner Bros. Pictures. Kevin Misher, Jennifer Davisson, Tim Moore and Jessica Meier are producers. Billy Ray penned the script.