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We have a late addition to this year's Oscar race, and, unsurprisingly, it's a new film from Clint Eastwood. We knew that Eastwood was working on a project about Richard Jewell, the security guard who saved lives from a bomb during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, but then became the chief suspect in the crime, but the movie is now set for a December release and now we have its first trailer.
The story of Richard Jewell is one of the more fascinating pieces of recent American history. The man went from hero to villain and back again, all in the public eye. The movie will tell that story, but here's a brief rundown of three important facts to know about the case.
Only One Person Died From The Actual Bombing
The bomb was placed in Centennial Olympic Park a new construction in Atlanta that was part of the 1996 Olympic Games. It was a place where a lot of people gathered, especially in the evening following the day's events, for concerts and other celebrations. Richard Jewell discovered the package containing the bomb as a security guard covering the area. He was able to help clear the space, but there were still casualties. Over 100 people were injured, but only one person, a woman named Alice Hawthorne, was killed by the blast. A second person, a cameraman covering the Olympics, died of a heart attack in a rush to cover the explosion.
Jewell Spent Three Months As A Suspect
Shortly after the bombing in July of 1996, Richard Jewell's name was leaked as a possible suspect in the case. From that point on the media firestorm began and the security guard was constantly hounded by both authorities and the media. His home was searched twice. Hair and prints were taken and, as we see in the trailer, his voice was taken to be analyzed, because somebody called in a bomb threat. In October of 1996 Jewell received a formal letter informing him he was no longer considered a suspect, although it would be a year before Attorney General Janet Reno formally apologized.
The Real Bomber Was Eventually Caught
While Richard Jewell was eventually cleared, it would be years before the real culprit was caught. The Olympic Park bombing turned out to be the first of several bombings carried out by a man named Eric Rudolph. He would go on to bomb two abortion clinics and a lesbian bar in 1997 and 1998. Following the last bombing Rudolph was named as a suspect, but he avoided capture by hiding in the Appalachian wilderness. In 2003, Rudolph was arrested and as part of a 2005 guilty plea he officially confessed to the Atlanta bombing.
An innocent man being accused of a terrible crime is the stuff that nightmares are made of. While Richard Jewell was eventually cleared, and recognized as the hero he was, he lived through that nightmare, and his name is now the title of a Clint Eastwood movie that will give the rest of us some idea of just what that was like.
Richard Jewell hits theaters December 13.