Clint Eastwood is certainly no stranger to awards season with previous movies like Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima and American Sniper being nominated for Best Picture Oscars. Richard Jewell, the latest offering from Eastwood, is looking to be another possible Best Picture nominee for the iconic actor and director. Based on a true story, the film stars Paul Walter Hauser as the titular Richard Jewell who was working as a security guard during the 1996 Sumer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia when he discovered a bag filled with pipe bombs. Alerting the nearby police, Jewell helps to evacuate the area and saves several lives in the process. Hailed as a hero initially by the media and the public, he was named a “person of interest” by the authorities three days later which led to the media turning on him and turning Richard and his mother Bobi’s lives into a living nightmare.
Before the film’s release, I sat down with Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates and Jon Hamm to talk with them about how they approached taking on the real life characters they portray in the movie. We also discussed how they prepared to act in a Clint Eastwood directed movie given his propensity to shoot as little takes as possible in order to bring the film in under budget. They also revealed to me the importance of getting the story right thru their work in playing these characters and getting “justice for Richard”. Read the questions that I asked them down below and watch the video above to see their answers. The film also stars Olivia Wilde as reporter Kathy Scruggs which has been the subject of much controversy in early reviews of the movie. You’ll be able to decide for yourself whether the controversy is warranted and if Eastwood has another Best Picture contender on his hands.
Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates and Jon Hamm:
- Kathy: What did you strive to bring to your portrayal of Bobi Jewell?
- Sam: Your portrayal of Watson Bryant had such a freedom to it. Did you discover that in your process or was it based more on the actual Bryant?
- Sam: Did it excite you to play someone this eccentric on the screen?
- Jon: What did you focus on getting right with this character with your scenes in the movie
- What was the preparation for all three of you to get ready for a Clint Eastwood film knowing that he likes to do as few takes as possible?
Here’s the official synopsis for Richard Jewell:
Directed by Clint Eastwood and based on true events, “Richard Jewell” is a story of what happens when what is reported as fact obscures the truth.
“There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have thirty minutes.” The world is first introduced to Richard Jewell as the security guard who reports finding the device at the 1996 Atlanta bombing—his report making him a hero whose swift actions save countless lives. But within days, the law enforcement wannabe becomes the FBI’s number one suspect, vilified by press and public alike, his life ripped apart. Reaching out to independent, anti-establishment attorney Watson Bryant, Jewell staunchly professes his innocence. But Bryant finds he is out of his depth as he fights the combined powers of the FBI, GBI and APD to clear his client’s name, while keeping Richard from trusting the very people trying to destroy him.