ATLANTA - Director Clint Eastwood and the cast of the new film, “Richard Jewell” attended a red carpet screening of the movie Tuesday in Atlanta.
Jewell’s saga began on July 27, 1996, when he spotted an abandoned backpack during a concert in Centennial Olympic Park shortly before 1 a.m. and helped clear the area as federal agents determined it contained a bomb. The explosion about 20 minutes later killed 44-year-old Alice Hawthorne of Albany, Georgia, and injured 111 people, some of them seriously. A Turkish television cameraman died after suffering a heart attack while running to film the explosion’s aftermath.
Jewell, who likely helped prevent many more casualties, was initially hailed as a hero but a few days later was reported to be the focus of the FBI investigation, and the public quickly turned on him.
The park reopened within days, the games continued and Jewell was publicly cleared three months later. But he grappled with the fallout for the rest of his life, and Atlanta lived with the fear and unease of a bomber still at large.
On the red carpet, the director and stars discussed why they decided to be a part of the movie as well as their hope that it will restore Jewell’s legacy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report