Kathy Bates is joining a cast of awards heavy hitters in Clint Eastwood‘s feature film based on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing. Bates will join the cast of Richard Jewell, previously titled The Ballad of Richard Jewell, as Bobi Jewell, the mother of the title character played by I, Tonya actor Paul Walter Hauser.
Deadline broke the news that Bates has been cast as Bobi Jewell, Richard’s mother who was an insurance claims adjuster, in Richard Jewell, Eastwood’s upcoming film about the Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Hauser’s title character Richard Jewell is the security guard who was falsely accused of orchestrating Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Rounding out the star-studded cast is Sam Rockwell as Jewell’s defense attorney in the film.
According to Deadline, the film, which is scripted by Billy Ray (Captain Phillips), centers on Jewell, “who discovered a suspicious backpack in the Olympics compound, cleared the area and saved lives that day, but after he was falsely accused he became a pariah. Even though the FBI cleared Jewell as a suspect three months later, the true American hero never fully got his reputation back or his confidence in himself, and his health was forever damaged. Jewell, who later became a police officer, died in 2007 of a heart attack at age 44.”
Richard Jewell appears to be a biopic that seeks to reevaluate the legacy of an infamous public figure, much in the vein of 2017’s I, Tonya. The casting of Hauser in the title role suggests as much, though we don’t know if the film will take on the same offbeat tone as the 2017 Margot Robbie-starring film.
Bates won an Oscar for her role in 1990’s Misery, though in recent years she seems to be working exclusively in biopics or American Horror Story, often in a supporting role with little screen time. But Richard Jewell could be another shot for Bates to earn awards buzz — if this film goes the I, Tonya route, Bates could gain awards buzz in the vein of Allison Janney’s Oscar nod as an abusive mother in that 2017 film.
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