Well before its Dec. 13 debut, the movie “Richard Jewell” was already stirring local memories of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing – and controversy about its portrayal of an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter.

The Clint Eastwood-directed, Atlanta-made movie sets out to ensure the legacy of Jewell, a heroic security guard who was briefly, and wrongly, targeted by the FBI as a top bombing suspect. However, the film is opening to intense controversy over its treatment of the AJC’s Kathy Scruggs as supposedly offering sex for a scoop.

The real bomber was right-wing terrorist Eric Rudolph, who went on to bomb sites in Sandy Springs, Atlanta and Alabama.

Local reactions and memories include a historic panel discussion of key figures at the Atlanta History Center, a Dunwoody man who took news photos of Rudolph’s campaign of terror, and a friend of Eastwood’s who visited the “Richard Jewell” set.

The following is a roundup of the Reporter’s recent coverage related to the Olympics bombing, Richard Jewell and the film.

An office building on Carpenter Drive in Sandy Springs that in 1997 housed a clinic that performed abortions and was targeted by terrorist bomber Eric Rudolph. (Google Maps)

The bombings

Dunwoody man’s news photos captured Sandy Springs blast, other moments in Olympic bomber’s terror campaign

At the time of the bombings, Dunwoody resident Alan Mothner was a news photographer who took dramatic photos of the aftermath of the Sandy Springs blast.

Memories of a terrorist’s bombing spree at Olympics and Sandy Springs

Former Fulton County Police officer Steve Rose, public relations executive Mitch Leff and Reporter Editor-At-Large Joe Earle share memories of Rudolph’s bombings.

History Center’s next big exhibit: Rethinking Atlanta’s Olympics legacy

Curators at the Atlanta History Center discuss their remake of the Atlanta Olympics exhibit, including how to handle the bombing.

Wood, left, and Richard Jewell at a 2006 event where Jewell was honored by Gov. Sonny Perdue as a rescue hero of the Atlanta Olympics bombing. (Special)

Richard Jewell

Panel recalls FBI, AJC roles in case of Richard Jewell, Olympics bombing hero turned suspect

A major panel discussion at the Atlanta History Center addressed the Jewell case. On stage were a former federal prosecutor and former AJC editor involved in the case; in the audience were Jewell’s widow and former attorney, among other notable figures.

Battle against Tesla CEO is latest high-profile case for local libel lawyer

Last year, attorney L. Lin Wood recalled his work suing media outlets – including the AJC – for libel on Jewell’s behalf and his hope that Jewell would be remembered as a hero.

The late AJC reporter Kathy Scruggs, who got the scoop about the FBI investigation of Richard Jewell, in a snapshot held by her partner George Hamilton. (John Ruch)

The movie

AJC blasts ‘Richard Jewell’ movie’s reporter portrayal; will host private screenings in Sandy Springs

While threatening to sue the filmmakers for libel, the AJC arranged private screenings of “Richard Jewell” for subscribers at a Sandy Springs movie theater, where Editor Kevin Riley was to discuss and critique the film.

‘Richard Jewell’ movie was filmed at Oglethorpe, Johnny’s Hideaway, other local spots

A local jazz musician who is Eastwood’s friend and the owner of a popular nightclub are among those with memories of the making of “Richard Jewell.”

Richard Jewell’ movie’s reporter portrayal blasted by Buckhead attorney who sued her and AJC

Wood, the attorney who once sued the AJC on Jewell’s behalf, is now defending Scruggs against the movie’s portrayal.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.