Olivia Wilde plays reporter who broke 'Richard Jewell' story

NEW YORK — Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell” is his latest picture to recreate real events via vividly drawn characters.

Easily the most controversial is Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde).

She broke the story that Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser), the security guard hailed as the life-saving “hero” of Atlanta’s 1996 Olympics bombing, was actually the FBI’s prime suspect.

Scruggs’ scoop, leaked to her by an FBI agent, immediately went viral. Jewell’s reputation was destroyed — until he was eventually completely vindicated

“I have an enormous amount of respect for Kathy Scruggs. She’s no longer with us,” Olivia Wilde, 35, began.

“It was a fascinating research. Everything that was available about Kathy I read and tried to do her justice. But it’s a complicated story.

“Kathy was famous for getting to crime scenes before the police. She had a really good relationship with the cops. She had a relationship with the FBI as well. She felt she was serving an important purpose.

“When this terrorism happened, she had the opportunity to rise in the ranks and say, ‘I got the scoop that everybody in the world wanted.’”

Once the FBI cleared Jewell, he filed multiple libel suits which included the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Kathy was clearly the scapegoat,” Wilde said of the aftermath. “There was a lot of pressure for her to give up her source and she never did.

“Subsequently we knew it was the FBI and they did have a relationship but she never said his name. Then she fell on hard times. It’s not clear whether she committed suicide but it seems very likely.

“What I hope the movie does in terms of Kathy’s legacy is take some of that pressure off of her. It’s a very ‘convenient’ narrative — the one feisty female reporter just messed the whole thing up.

“Of course, it was a much bigger problem than that.”

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