Olivia Wilde Says She’ll Approach Real-Life Characters Differently After ‘Richard Jewell’ Flap

“When you’re playing real people, there’s a responsibility towards their legacy,” actress says

Olivia Wilde said the blowback she faced for her portrayal of a newspaper reporter in Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell” had forced her to re-examine her approach to playing real-life people in the future.

“We should play all types of nuanced, complex characters. But I think when you’re playing real people, there’s a responsibility towards their legacy,” the star told Vulture during a wide-ranging interview published Friday during the Sundance Film Festival, echoing her statement from earlier in the winter. “But unfortunately when you’re not writing or directing the film, you have very little control over that.”

In December, Wilde, the daughter of a journalist, addressed criticism of the the Eastwood film’s portrayal of the late Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs whom Wilde played in the film. After the film came under fire from the editor of the Journal-Constitution and others strongly denying that Scruggs had ever slept with sources to obtain information, Wilde tweeted that she had “no say” in the creative decisions made.

“I cannot speak for the creative decisions made by the filmmakers,” the actress tweeted at the time. “I did not have a say in how the film was ultimately crafted.”

During her chat with Vulture, published Friday, she expanded on what moved her to tweet that: “I think the good thing about social media is the ability to speak for oneself. Specifically when you’re a public figure who has words put in your mouth, where there’s so much projection and assumption. I find it useful to say, ‘Hang on, actually. I’ll speak for myself.’ I felt compelled to share my opinion and remind people that I neither directed nor wrote the movie.”

Wilde premiered “Wake Up,” a new short film starring Margaret Qualley, Friday afternoon at the festival.

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