Clint Eastwood is figuring out his next project, and coming off of helming the highest grossing film of 2014 (domestically), he’s got his pick of the litter. What’s catching his eye now, though, is a drama about Richard Jewell, a man who heroically discovered a suspicious backpack during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and then was later vilified as a possible terrorist suspect. The project originated with Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio, who began development based on Marie Brenner’s 1997 Vanity Fair article “The Ballad of Richard Jewell”, and Hill plans to star as the central figure.
Deadline reports that Eastwood is “seriously circling” the 20th Century Fox project, which has a screenplay by Billy Ray (Captain Phillips), but his attachment is tenuous. Eastwood is a Warner Bros. mainstay, so the report notes that WB and Fox are trying to figure out a way to “share” the director on the project should he sign on. This isn’t dissimilar from when Christopher Nolan went to direct Interstellar at Paramount, which saw WB making a deal so that they could be cut in on the film as well. It’s no secret that Warner Bros. is very loyal to its filmmakers, and Eastwood’s been in the family for a long time.
DiCaprio is a possible candidate to star as the lawyer who helped Jewell navigate his situation, so if Eastwood does direct this would mark a reteam with his J. Edgar star. I can’t say I’ve been a fan of Eastwood’s work for the past decade or so, so I’d personally rather see another filmmaker take on this promising material—Paul Greengrass was previously eyeing it, but he fell off to focus on the next Bourne film.
Again, this isn’t a firm attachment just yet so it’s simply something to keep an eye on, but after the success of American Sniper, Eastwood is no doubt fielding offers to direct everything under the sun. Cue the campaign to have him direct the next Batman movie with Ben Affleck.