Sam Rockwell to star in Clint Eastwood's upcoming drama

Rockwell will play the attorney who defended American security guard Richard Jewell.

Sam Rockwell is in final negotiations to replace Leonardo DiCaprio in Clint Eastwood's latest movie.

The Oscar-winning actor has almost reached a deal to star in The Ballad of Richard Jewell, which will be directed and produced by the American Sniper filmmaker, according to Variety.

The film is based on the story of real-life security guard Jewell, whose life was turned upside down when he was wrongly accused of planting the pipe bombs he found at Centennial Park during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Rockwell will play the attorney who defended Jewell after he became one of the most hated men in America. The part of Jewell is yet to be cast.

The Wolf of Wall Street co-stars Jonah Hill and DiCaprio had originally been attached to star in the drama, with the Titanic actor initially onboard the project to play the lawyer, but they will no longer appear in the film and will simply serve as producers.

Billy Ray, who penned the screenplays for Captain Phillips and The Hunger Games, will write the script based on a Vanity Fair magazine article by Marie Brenner.

In 1996, Jewell was hailed a hero for being the first to discover the suspicious abandoned backpack containing three pipe bombs and alerting the authorities, saving hundreds of lives. That soon changed when he was accused of planting it in the first place. He maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal and was finally cleared by FBI investigators after 88 days, but his reputation and health were forever damaged. He died in 2007 after suffering from severe heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.

Rockwell won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in 2018 and followed it up with a second consecutive nomination for his portrayal of former U.S. President George W. Bush in Vice.

He recently earned strong reviews for playing dancer Bob Fosse in TV mini-series Fosse/Verdon, and can next be seen in Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit.

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