Warner Bros. has closed a deal to acquire the rights to The Ballad Of Richard Jewell from Disney. Clint Eastwood is set to direct, and has reportedly had his eye on the project for a number of years. It was previously at Fox, which Disney acquired, and selling the project to WB means that Eastwood will work with the studio for the eighth consecutive time.
There was reportedly a chance that the film could have remained at Fox-Disney. Alan Horn is the current Disney Studios chief, and previously worked closely with Eastwood when he was the head of Warner Bros.’ motion picture division. All parties involved thought it best that the film make its way to WB.
The film tells the true story of Richard Jewell, a security guard whose life suddenly changes after the media identifies him as a possible suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombings. Jewell helped clear bystanders during the attack, only to find himself vilified and a suspected terrorist. He was cleared as a suspect three months later. He died of a heart attack in 2007 at 44.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill were originally attached to star, but that is no longer the case. However, the duo will still produce the film. Billy Ray is writing the script, based on Marie Brenner‘s Vanity Fair article.
Eastwood’s last film, The Mule, garnered mostly favourable reviews and performed well at the box office, earning $172 million worldwide. He’s always been a director able to make money on his films, which is why he’s still working and studios are happy to let him make whatever he wants. Expect The Ballad Of Richard Jewell to perform well. We’ll wait and see who Eastwood gets to star.