Paul Walter Hauser is starring in Clint Eastwood's upcoming Richard Jewell drama. A docudrama about the real-life 1996 Olympics bombing (where security guard Richard Jewell prevented a bomb from doing more harm, but was later falsely accused of planting it), the film's been in the works since as far back as 2014. Captain Phillips writer-director duo Billy Ray and Paul Greengrass were attached early on, with Wolf of Wall Street costars Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio circling the lead roles. That version never panned out, however, and the project fell into development limbo around 2016.
Eastwood was reported to be eying the Richard Jewell movie in 2015, but he moved on after that and didn't circle back around until this past April. The film started moving forward again after he signed on, and has since found a home at Eastwood's trusted collaborator Warner Bros. (after Fox expressed interest). And while Sam Rockwell only just entered talks to costar a couple days ago, it seems Eastwood's already settled on his Richard Jewell.
THR is reporting that Hauser is set to play Jewell, with Rockwell costarring as his attorney. Hill and DiCaprio are still producing the film, though it's not clear if Eastwood will be drawing from Ray's earlier screenplay or a revised draft based on Marie Brenner's 1997 Vanity Fair article, "American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell".
Hauser and Rockwell are a pretty strong duo, as far as "replacements" for Hill and DiCaprio on the film go. The former has quickly made a name for himself as a talented character actor with his recent roles in the films I, Tonya, BlacKkKlansman, and Late Night. He also costars on YouTube Preminum's hit Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai and only just reunited with director Spike Lee on the upcoming Netflix drama, Da 5 Bloods. His performance in Richard Jewell should only keep his career rising on the up and up, and it even has the potential to land Hauser some awards season love (depending on how things shake out with the movie's release date).
If there's reason for concern, though, it's arguably because of Eastwood. The iconic actor-filmmaker is pushing 90, but that hasn't stopped him from directing eight films (not to mention, two in 2018) in the last decade alone. Problem is, many of them were dramas that basically used real-life acts of heroism as an excuse to serve up glib conservative messages about America and its place in the world (see also: American Sniper, Sully, The 15:17 to Paris). It would be a shame if Richard Jewell followed suit in that respect, so here's to hoping that doesn't happen.