Clint Eastwood Wants to Direct Jonah Hill’s Richard Jewell Biopic
Clint Eastwood’s been a movie star for the better part of half a century, but coming off the shocking success of American Sniper, the biggest domestic hit of 2014, he’s in a rare position of power, even for him. Suddenly, at age of 84, Eastwood’s a hot Hollywood commodity again. He could do anything he wants! A sequel to In the Line of Fire? Sure, why not. A new Dirty Harry? Absolutely! Star in Magic Mike XXXL? Okay, maybe not that. That would be weird. But just about anything else is up for grabs.
According to Deadline, Eastwood’s preferred course of action would be to join his J. Edgar star Leonardo DiCaprio on a planned biopic about Richard Jewell, the man who discovered the bomb at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and then became a pariah when he was named as a suspect in the case. DiCaprio is likely to play Jewell’s attorney; the subject would be played by Jonah Hill. The screenplay for the film, which is based on a Vanity Fair article about Jewell’s life, is by Billy Ray, who’s written superb ripped-from-the-headlines thrillers like Shattered Glass and Captain Phillips (along with the slightly more fantastical Hunger Games).
Deadline reports that Eastwood is “seriously circling” the project, but the fact that it is set up at Fox, not Eastwood’s longtime home of Warner Bros., could pose an issue. The two studios “are trying to find some common ground which might involve them sharing the picture as co-production partners.” Hopefully they do. Eastwood and DiCaprio’s first pairing wasn’t great, but Jewell’s story, like American Sniper, is a fascinating and tragic one about sacrifice and heroism, and would make the perfect subject for an Eastwood film.