Clint Eastwood Heads Back To The Oscar Race As ‘Richard Jewell’ Has Triumphant AFI Fest Premiere In Hollywood

Clint Eastwood Heads Back To The Oscar Race As ‘Richard Jewell’ Has Triumphant AFI Fest Premiere In Hollywood

21 Nov 2019 (PT)
RICHARD JEWELLCLINT EASTWOODOSCAR RACEHOLLYWOODPREMIEREOSCAR
Clint Eastwood Heads Back To The Oscar Race As ‘Richard Jewell’ Has Triumphant AFI Fest Premiere In Hollywood

If it is an awards season the name Clint Eastwood can’t be too far away.  And so it is once again an Eastwood movie has just thrown its hat in the ring as  Richard Jewell had a rousing AFI Fest premiere last night at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood,  as well as a SAG Nominating Committee screening at Harmony Gold followed by a Q&A  that drew standing ovations for Eastwood and the man he cast as Jewell, Paul Wer Hauser.  There was also big applause for co-stars Kathy Bates who plays Jewell’s mother Bobbi , Sam Rockwell who plays his lawyer Watson Bryant,  and Jon Hamm who plays Tom Shaw a fictional name representing a number of FBI agents.  The real Watson Bryant , and Bobbi Jewell were also among those in attendance at the premiere and after party.

Clint Eastwood Heads Back To The Oscar Race As ‘Richard Jewell’ Has Triumphant AFI Fest Premiere In Hollywood Pete Hammond/Deadline

The four- time Oscar winner for producing and directing Best Picture winners Unforgiven and  Million Dollar Baby  should be back in the heart of the game with  Richard Jewell, a very compelling true story of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Security Guard who was first hailed a hero for discovering a bomb in Centennial Park and saving many lives in the process before it exploded, but then named a suspect in the bombing by the FBI which desperately needed to find one considering the Games had just begun and pressure was on.  The local paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution also is depicted as being pressured to be first in reporting Jewell as a suspect  as this movie finds both the FBI and the Media cupable in targeting Jewell whose life was nearly destroyed before he was completely exonerated 88 days after the investigation began.

This is Eastwood back in the kind of true life stories he has been attracted to lately, films about complex heroes like  American Sniper, Sully, and now  Richard  Jewell. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Warner Bros Dec 13 release in the Best Picture race, as well as several other categories  including Directing for Eastwood, who at 89 could become certainly one of the oldest, if not  the oldest Best Director nominee ever.  He is astonishing , no other word for it and all his actors last night had nothing but praise for him.  His longtime film editor Joel Cox, who told me Clint wants to keep working behind the camera until he is at least 100,  said he was hoping to get Clint to agree to let young directors come on their sets and observe, just to get an idea of how moviemaking should really be done.   By the way Cox , who edited as filming continued,  said they delivered the movie to Warner Bros this week it was finished just two days ago exactly five and a half months after starting production. The studio wanted it as a centerpiece of its Oscar contenders which also include Joker. Well, Eastwood has given it to them.

Clint Eastwood Heads Back To The Oscar Race As ‘Richard Jewell’ Has Triumphant AFI Fest Premiere In Hollywood Pete Hammond/Deadline

The legendary actor/director told me at the Hollywood Roosevelt after party that he has been chasing the Jewell story for years and sparked to Billy Ray’s screenplay which is based on a Marie Brenner Vanity Fair article as well as the book “Suspect”.   First they had it set up at Fox but an executive there deep sixed it. Time went by and in 2018 after Disney bought Fox, it was revived again the exec who killed it was now gone  but new studio head Alan Horn couldn’t make it work there so it suddenly was able to land in Eastwood’s main studio , Warner Bros’ lap  after he decided to give it just one more try.  Everyone looking for justice and doing the right thing should be thankful he didn’t give up because the sad fact is Jewell was a true hero but the label put on him in unfortunate circumstances  still has people thinking he was the bomber  Eric Rudolph confessed six years later.  As he said at the end of the Q&A, this was something that needed to be corrected and fully exonerates him once again in a way only movies can do. “I think it is a great American tragedy that everyone kind of went after him. I realized how it happened. It was the first time Atlanta had such a huge thing like the Olympics,  and all of a sudden in three days they have this horrible bombing , and they have to get somebody. But everybody just sold out, they sold out and didn’t even offer him the basics of the American system. The FBI and a lot of the media were unkind, and it shows good people can do bad things.  Richard Jewell was a kind person and he got a bad deal,” he said noting that he’s happy the city is going to put a plaque in honor of Jewell who died of heart failure in 2007 at Centennial Park but wants more. “That’s great, but I would like a street named after him. He deserves better. It’s a story worth telling.  I wanted this picture in the worst way. I sold a lot of souls to the Devil to get it made.”

Clint Eastwood Heads Back To The Oscar Race As ‘Richard Jewell’ Has Triumphant AFI Fest Premiere In Hollywood Warner Bros.

At one time Jonah Hill  who has a producing credit along with others including Leonardo DiCaprio  was attached to play Jewell, but from the moment Eastwood said he saw Hauser in a small supporting role in I, Tonya he knew he had found  his Richard Jewell.  The Best Actor and Supporting Actor races are ridiculously crowded this year, but it seems inconceivable that Hauser can be denied a slot . He is simply brilliant, completely inhabiting this role. Plus he looks like he could be Jewell’s brother. It is a remarkable performance.  The whole cast is great too including Bates who could well find herself in the Supporting Actress lineup. The SAG crowd loved her.  And then there is Sam Rockwell who once again is superb in another unforgettable turn.  He won the Supporting Oscar two years ago for  Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, and was nominated last year for his smaller role as George W. Bush in  Vice, the part that Eastwood says really caught his eye since he knew Bush a little and thought Rockwell captured him perfectly. This category is way overloaded but I don’t see how Rockwell doesn’t make it three nominations in a row.  For Hauser and Rockwell in particular this is not a prediction on my part, it is an  order Academy members.

Clint Eastwood Heads Back To The Oscar Race As ‘Richard Jewell’ Has Triumphant AFI Fest Premiere In Hollywood AFI

Of course with any true life story there is usually controversy as we saw when yesterday the AFI Fest had to pull The Banker from its closing night World Premiere slot that was scheduled for tonight.  And Martin Scorsese’s  The Irishman has also raised eyebrows in some quarters about the truthfulness of how Jimmy Hoffa’s death is portrayed as fact in the film.  And as for Richard Jewell, there is already a proactive campaign being launched against it by Kevin Riley, the editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution  who send a detailed email to various news outlets on Monday including Deadline, cautioning about certain things he has heard are in the movie that may put the AJC in a bad light. He says he will see the film when it comes out but wants to make journalists aware of AJC’s concerns,most notably surrounding Kathy Scruggs, played in the film by Olivia Wilde, the reporter who broke the story that the FBI was looking at Jewell as a suspect.  The film clearly suggests she is trading sexual favors with the FBI agent played by Jon Hamm in order to get the inside info.  This is also intimated in the book  “Suspect”,  one of the sources the film’s script is based on as well.   Riley says it is not true hough he was not at the paper in 1996 and is upset it is being portrayed this way , especially in the #MeToo era .  Scruggs unfortunately is not around to speak for herself . She died in 2001 at age 41.

Obviously there will be much more to come on this film, but for me a real mark of how Eastwood, Ray, and this cast nailed it is this is ultimately just what the title indicates,  it is finally the story of Richard Jewell and what happened to him at the hands of people who succumbed to the pressures of the time.  Bobbi Jewell  was a witness to it all and she effusively told me as she was leaving the Roosevelt Party  last night  that this movie got it right.

Source: deadline.com

RICHARD JEWELLCLINT EASTWOODOSCAR RACEHOLLYWOODPREMIEREOSCAR
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Clint Eastwood Heads Back To The Oscar Race As ‘Richard Jewell’ Has Triumphant AFI Fest Premiere In Hollywood
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