Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell is in talks to play the role of a defense attorney in Clint Eastwood’s upcoming drama The Ballad of Richard Jewell. Produced by the veteran actor-director under his banner, the film tells the true story of Richard Jewell, a security guard, whose life is turned upside-down after media reports identify him as a possible suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing. Jewell reported on the knapsack bomb at the 1996 Summer Games and helped clear bystanders - only to find himself vilified and suspected of being involved in the terrorism plot.
“As law enforcement asserted Jewell planted the bomb himself and then “found” it to make himself a hero. Jewell maintained his innocence throughout and was finally fully cleared by the FBI 88 days later, though his reputation was never restored. While Jewell eventually became a police officer, he died of heart failure a few years later at the age of 44,” read the plot synopsis.
Rockwell will play the attorney who defends Jewell after he is wrongly accused. Billy Ray will be writing the script which is based on an article in Vanity Fair written by Marie Brenner. Jonah Hill and Leonardo Dicaprio were originally expected to star as Jewell and his defense attorney respectively but they have since withdrawn from acting in the film and will only be producing it.