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Paul Walter Hauser Lands Lead Role in ‘The Ballad of Richard Jewell’

Billy Ray wrote the screenplay based on Marie Brenner’s 1997 Vanity Fair profile of the Olympic Park bombing suspect

Paul Walter Hauser (“I, Tonya,” “BlackKkKlansman”) has booked the lead and title role for “Richard Jewell,” an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap. “Richard Jewell” is based on the story of a security guard who was considered a suspect in the bombing that took place Atlanta’s Centennial Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Billy Ray wrote the screenplay based on the 1997¬†Vanity Fair article¬†from Marie Brenner that describes how Jewell, originally hailed by the media as a hero for alerting police to the presence of a bomb and helping evacuate the area, became linked as the FBI’s prime suspect in the Olympic Park bombing, completely upending his life in the process.

Clint Eastwood is officially attached to direct “The Ballad of Richard Jewell,” and Warner Bros. had acquired the rights to release the film, which was previously at Disney-Fox.

Eastwood had wanted to direct the project for some time, with Fox having acquired the movie rights back in 2014. At the time, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill were to reunite on screen, with Hill portraying Jewell and DiCaprio as the attorney who guided Jewell through the legal proceedings. Sam Rockwell is in talks to play the attorney.

“Richard Jewell” reunites Eastwood with Warner Bros. after it released his last film, “The Mule,” where Eastwood starred opposite Bradley Cooper. It grossed $171.3 million at the global box office.

Tim Moore, Jessica Meier, Kevin Misher, Jonah Hill, DiCaprio, and Jennifer Davisson are producing. Eastwood is both directing and producing through his Malpaso production company. Malpaso, Misher Films, 75 Year Plan, and Appian Way are the production companies.

Recently, Hauser reunited with Spike Lee post-“BlackKklansman,” and just wrapped Netflix’s “Da 5 Bloods.” Hauser will next be seen in Amazon’s and Mindy Kaling’s “Late Night,” and in Chris Robinson’s hip-hop drama “Beats” also on Netflix.

Hauser is represented by CAA, Artists First, Kovert Creative, and Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham.