Clint Eastwood‘s latest film, Richard Jewell, has been subject to a good amount of controversy. As the weekend wraps up, it looks like the movie’s box office results will be less than stellar.
What is ‘Richard Jewell’ about?
Richard Jewell tells the story of the man who was initially suspected of planting a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The bombing killed two and injured over 100.
Warner Bros. official description of the film reads, “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.”
The film stars Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, and Olivia Wilde.
‘Richard Jewell’ has already caused controversy
Aside from many critics deeming the film as Eastwood’s way to appeal to people who lean to the right politically, there is a lot of controversy with Olivia Wilde’s character, Kathy Scruggs. In the film, the character (who is based on a real-life person of the same name) has sex with an FBI agent for information. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where Scruggs worked, has been highly critical of the film and how it portrays her. They’ve even demanded that a disclaimer be added to the film.
Wilde said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: “I have an immense amount of respect for Kathy Scruggs. She’s no longer with us, she died very young, and I feel a certain responsibility to defend her legacy — which has now been, I think unfairly, boiled down to one element of her personality, one inferred moment in the film.” She continued, “I do think it’s interesting that when audiences recognize sexuality within a character, they immediately, when it’s a woman, allow it to define her, and I think we should stop doing that and allow for nuance. It’s sort of a misunderstanding of feminism to expect women to become pious and sexless.”
Olivia Wilde clarifies her comments
After the interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Wilde later posted a Twitter thread about the situation and clarified her comments. “I was asked to play the supporting role of Kathy Scruggs, who was, by all accounts, bold, smart, and fearlessly undeterred by the challenge of being a female reporter in the south in the 1990s. I cannot even contemplate the amount of sexism she may have faced in the way of duty,” she said.
Later tweets read, “Contrary to a swath of recent headlines, I do not believe that Kathy ‘traded sex for tips.’ Nothing in my research suggested she did so, and it was never my intention to suggest she had. That would be an appalling and misogynistic dismissal of the difficult work she did….My previous comments about female sexuality were lost in translation, so let me be clear: I do not believe sex-positivity and professionalism are mutually exclusive. Kathy Scruggs was a modern, independent woman whose personal life should not detract from her accomplishments.”
The film’s current and projected box office performance
Richard Jewell is currently underperforming at the box office. The Hollywood Reporter says that the film may only take in around $5 million at the conclusion of the weekend. It only made $1.6 million on Friday night. It is one of the worst opening grosses in Eastwood’s career. The film’s budget was $45 million.
If you’d like to check the film out, it would be a good idea to head to theaters as soon as you can.