Clint Eastwood defies Hollywood boycott of Georgia over abortion ban, will film new movie about 1996 Atlanta bombing in state
'The Ballad of Richard Jewell,' is set to start production this summer starring Kathy Bates, Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm and Sam Rockwell among others
Clint Eastwood has reportedly decided to defy the backlash across Hollywood to Georgia's abortion restrictions earlier this year and will produce a film in the state despite the same. According to NBC's WCNC in Charlotte, North Carolina, 'The Ballad of Richard Jewell,' is set to start production this summer starring Kathy Bates, Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm and Sam Rockwell among others.
According to Variety, Eastwood will direct the movie himself, recounting the story of security guard Richard Jewell, who discovered bombs at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia and was subsequently accused of plotting the attack. However, he was later exonerated of the allegations. Eastwood, 89, is also set to supervise the production of the highly anticipated film, the Daily Mail reported.
WXIA-TV reported the filming of the movie is scheduled to commence sometime this summer. The story revolves around Jewell, who was working as a security guard at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park at the time of the July 27 bombing. The tragic incident claimed one life, injured over 100 others, and marred the 1996 Olympics, per the report.
Jewell was praised at first for discovering a suspicious bag that contained the pipe bomb and helping evacuate people from the park before the bomb exploded, thereby saving countless lives. However, the FBI later named him as a chief suspect saying he may have acted as a lone bomber.
After the harrowing episode, Jewell sued multiple media outlets for defamation and worked as a law enforcement office thereafter. Eventually, it was found that the man responsible for the bombing was Eric Robert Rudolph, who pleaded guilty in 2005. The embattled guard died in August 2007 from diabetes and kidney ailments. He was only 44 years old at the time of his death.
That said, Eastwood does not appear to be engaging in the apparent Hollywood boycott of Georgia. A registered Republican who calls himself a libertarian, Eastwood has never been shy about making his political stances public. He endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012 before the Republican nominee lost to then-incumbent President Barack Obama. During the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, the same year, Eastwood famously rendered a heartfelt speech to an empty chair, which was meant to represent Obama.
In 2016, he openly admitted he preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. And turning the clock back to 1986, Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a small town in California. The veteran actor and director is no stranger to filming in Georgia. He directed and starred in 'The Mule,' a movie about a renowned horticulturist turned drug courier who was working for the Sinaloa cartel, that came out last year. Most of the filming for that movie was conducted in Georgia.
The film and television industry has expressed outrage in recent weeks over the state's highly restrictive new anti-abortion laws. More than 40 celebrities came together in March to sign a letter to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), threatening to push film production crews to not work in the state if the "heartbeat" abortion bill became law. However, Kemp went ahead and signed the legislation into law in May, making abortions illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Among those who signed the letter were Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller, Sarah Silverman, Don Cheadle, Rosie O’Donnell, Gabrielle Union Patton Oswalt, Uzo Aduba, and Christina Applegate, per a tweet from actress and activist Alyssa Milano, who lead the effort. What's more? Olivia Wilde, who stars in the upcoming film, had also signed onto the letter, according to The Hill.
Earlier this month, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) met with entertainment industry officials and asked them not to abandon the state. Instead, she encouraged them to donate to candidates and activist groups seeking to change the state's abortion laws.