The World Will Know His Name...And the Truth
Golden Globes Nomination 2020
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Kathy Bates, RICHARD JEWELL
National Board of Review Awards 2019
Best Supporting Actress: Kathy Bates, RICHARD JEWELL
Breakthrough Performance: Paul Walter Hauser, RICHARD JEWELL
Top Films: RICHARD JEWELL
AFI MOTION PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2019
Top 10 Film of the Year - RICHARD JEWELL
Clint Eastwood's Richard Jewell drama; about how the media reported the events of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and the FBI investigation following that fateful event opens in cinemas on 9 January 2020 and we have some Q&As direct from the man himself!
QUESTION: Do you remember the 1996 incident at the Atlanta Games?
CLINT EASTWOOD: Before working on this picture, I didn’t remember the details too much. I can’t think of where I was at the time, but I remember when they said that they had a guard who found the bomb, who was a hero and then a suspect. I remember that, but I didn’t know too much about it, and in hindsight I had forgotten about it. But when I read the article and the script, it seemed like a really interesting subject for today.
QUESTION: Why is that?
CLINT EASTWOOD: Because, like then, people are still quick to judge today, without thinking of the consequences.
QUESTION: What made you decide to make this movie?
CLINT EASTWOOD: You know, I got involved about four or so years ago. I had read the [Vanity Fair] article by Marie Brenner and I had seen a script, and I liked it. But it was with another studio, and then I was working on another project, and then all of a sudden, I just got a feeling I should check in on this, so I checked in and said, “What’s the score on it?” And we brought it back to life again and here we are.
QUESTION: What makes it such an intriguing story?
CLINT EASTWOOD: Well, because I thought it was very pertinent for today. This everyday guy who was getting the ultimate bad deal from everybody because they were concerned the event was going to shut down, and the city had millions of dollars invested in it. So, they just went ahead and pinned it on this guy who was vulnerable.
QUESTION: And why is Richard Jewell such an intriguing character?
CLINT EASTWOOD: He was a guy who was obsessed with being a police officer, and law enforcement was his dream. And so here he was out there working – it wasn’t exactly living his dream being out there as a security guard, but it was at least partially law enforcement. And then he was the one who was smart enough to discover, actually by intuition, the bomb and what it was. Nobody else cared. They didn’t think it was anything – they thought he was crazy. So, it’s kind of a “one guy against the world” story and an everyman-turned-hero story.
QUESTION: It’s tragic and touching at the same time, and you see the injustice of it all. Would you call it politics as usual?
CLINT EASTWOOD: It was a bad deal, you know. It was just a real tragedy. No, I don’t see it as a political story but much more of a human story. About the little guy against the world, David versus Goliath.
QUESTION: Tell me about your choice of Paul Walter Hauser for Richard Jewell. What makes him so appealing and perfect for the part?
CLINT EASTWOOD: He was our only choice for Richard, and it was a big opportunity for him to be the main protagonist of a movie, and he really took to it, he’s just terrific. He learned everything he could about Jewell. He listened to him on the news reels and so forth, and really got him down.
QUESTION: And what makes Sam Rockwell special for the role of Watson?
CLINT EASTWOOD: Well, I like Sam as an actor, he’s very talented. And I thought he could capture Watson Bryant. I really liked what he brought to the table in every scene we did.
QUESTION: This is movie number 38 for you as a director. What is the greatest satisfaction or pleasure for you when you direct?
CLINT EASTWOOD: The greatest satisfaction is when you do a scene and it comes out the way you wanted it to, or it had the feelings that you wanted it to.
QUESTION: What would you like the audience to take away from the movie?
CLINT EASTWOOD: I want them to see what a tragedy is and see how things can get out of kilter and a lot of people can suffer from it, because people are always covering their rear ends, you know, and that’s not always the right thing to do.
QUESTION: Can you address the fact that several of your recent films, and this one, deal with different types of heroes?
CLINT EASTWOOD: Yeah, they’re all different. That’s the thing about real-life heroes, they’re all different because life throws different things at them. But they all step up. That’s what they have in common.
QUESTION: How did you get the part?
PAUL WALTER HAUSER: I was in Thailand doing another movie and I got a call saying Clint Eastwood was interested in me for one of the leads of his next film, which was very hard to believe. I had another offer to do a TV show at the time, but Geoff Miclat, who is his casting director, and of course Tim Moore, one of the producers, said, “Please hold off, don’t take any more jobs, we really want you for this movie.” So I held it off and I left Thailand three weeks later and I found myself on the Warner Bros. lot meeting Clint Eastwood for the first time.
QUESTION: Was it at all intimidating working with Clint Eastwood?
PAUL WALTER HAUSER: Clint is kind and confident and warm to people, so if you are fearful of him, it’s because he is this creative giant and he’s a master storyteller. He’s the cowboy, he’s the lover, he’s the fighter, he’s this icon of cinema. So it is intimidating in that sense.
I think the first Clint Eastwood movie that I ever saw when I was young was A Perfect World with him and Kevin Costner. And as I got older, I really loved Changeling with Angelina Jolie, that is one of my favorite dramatic films. And Mystic River was obviously an unforgettable movie, so is Million Dollar Baby. Clint has always been in the foreground and background and periphery of my movie watching.
QUESTION: And how was it working with Sam Rockwell?
PAUL WALTER HAUSER: That was interesting, because Sam Rockwell’s one of my acting heroes. He is to me what probably Robert Duvall or Gene Hackman is to him, you know. So meeting him was very nice to kind of break down that barrier, and we could just talk as people and be buddies. And I remember the first night I met Sam, we were eating chocolate and drinking whiskey on his couch watching Rain Man with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, and it was one of the weirdest/coolest moments of my life. But what was great about that moment was we were bonding, and we were getting to know each other the way Richard and Watson had. So even the moments where we weren’t working on the script, where we were just hanging out, those became very important influential moments to us having on screen chemistry.
QUESTION: What makes Richard so touching for you as a human being?
PAUL WALTER HAUSER: I saw a picture of Richard Jewell where he was crying, and it got me emotional just seeing a grown man cry, but it wasn’t just that he was crying. He was such a strong-willed individual who cared about keeping this appearance of being a man and being strong, and so seeing him break down and cry in public in the photo really told me that he had been broken by this incident. This incident broke him. And so I’m moved by this story, because what do you do with a man as broken as him, in this nightmare of a situation, and what does it take to bring him out of the muck and the mire.
QUESTION: Do you remember the event of 1996? Was it something that you followed on the news?
PAUL WALTER HAUSER: It wasn’t really in my memory. But I know just like the marathon bombing several years ago in Boston, I know that this means a lot to the city and this is a story that has not left the City of Atlanta. So hopefully this will be further closure, and a correct version of history for them, I think.
QUESTION: What made you want to take on the role of Watson Bryant in this film?
SAM ROCKWELL: Well, Clint Eastwood, number one. And I heard Paul Hauser was in it and he was such a scene-stealer in I, Tonya, so that was exciting. And then I really liked the part of Watson Bryant, I thought it was a great role and a different part for me. I think the closest I’d gotten to playing someone like him was in Frost/Nixon, where I played Jim Reston. Watson is a very interesting character and the script was amazing, and really felt like a two-hander and, at the same time, an ensemble with Paul as the lead, as Richard.
QUESTION: Were you able to meet the real Watson Bryant?
SAM ROCKWELL: Yeah, he’s a fabulous character to play, like something out of a Tennessee Williams play. He’s very smart, very excitable and opinionated. He loves to argue, which, for a lawyer, is a great quality to have, I suppose.
QUESTION: This is your first film with Clint Eastwood, can you tell me about working with him?
SAM ROCKWELL: Whenever you’re dealing with an actor-director, you get a lot of compassion because they know what it’s like to be in front of the camera, and Clint is no exception. He trusts you, he lets you play, but Clint is also very sharp, he picks up on the littlest things, and he’ll say things that only somebody who’s been doing movies as long as he has would think to say. One thing I loved is that while he’s directing, you can see he’s thinking about the editing, because he’ll ask you to go through a door faster, or start the car faster, that sort of thing, knowing it’s just a quick connect from one scene to the next; it doesn’t need to be a Doctor Zhivago moment.
QUESTION: You and Paul, Kathy, and so on, you’re playing real people, and you also filmed in on location in Atlanta, Georgia, where the real events took place – what was that like?
SAM ROCKWELL: When you’re playing these real people, there’s a huge responsibility to represent them. It’s daunting. So, I think it’s extraordinary if you can also film in the actual locations, because it helps you get the spirit of the story and what they went through. You can’t always do it, but it’s a real plus, I think. It helps you rise to the occasion, and for a story like this, that’s really important.
QUESTION: Clint seems to be very interested in everyday heroes like Richard, don’t you agree?
SAM ROCKWELL: You’re right. He’s got an interest in injustice, for sure, it’s definitely a theme in his films, bringing to light people who have been underestimated but have risen to the occasion to perform a heroic act, and the media circus that surrounds them, and gets out of control. The court of public opinion is a dangerous thing, and I think it’s an important theme that never gets old, because it keeps happening in real life like it happened to Richard.
“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.
Catch Richard Jewell in cinemas from 9 January 2019.
* Movie rated NC16 (Some Coarse Language 些许粗俗语言)
© 2019 WBEI