When the Boston Marathon bombing happened last year, a community of users on Reddit tried to crowdsource the investigation of tracking down those responsible. A lot of people (including major news networks) got caught up in their “reports,” but it ultimately resulted in the finger getting pointed at the wrong man.
I’m too young to remember the details, but something similar happened around the time of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1997, Vanity Fair writer Marie Brenner wrote an article called “The Ballad of Richard Jewell” which detailed how Jewell, a security guard who discovered a suspicious backpack at the games and helped clear bystanders before it exploded, subsequently (and incorrectly) became a suspect in the bombing. According to Deadline, Fox has acquired screen rights to Brenner’s article, and has set the project as a reunion for the stars of The Wolf of Wall Street: Hill will play the wrongly-accused Jewell, and Leonardo DiCaprio will play the lawyer who helped guide him through the media onslaught that came soon after.
The film is described as being a “cautionary tale about how a media rush to judgment,” so, weirdly enough, it could be a spiritual successor to Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, in which co-writer/director Adam McKay used comedy to skewer the 24-hour news cycle and the immeasurable effect it had on traditional journalism.
It sounds like Jewell went through hell, with people like Jay Leno making fun of him on TV and even respected journalists like Tom Brokaw casting doubt on his innocence despite not having any real facts to back up their claims. An “anti-government militant” later copped to the crime, but Jewell’s name was dragged through the mud for three months before he was eventually cleared by the FBI. Hill has proven himself more than capable of handling dramatic material over the past few years with Wolf and Moneyball, and it sounds like this might continue his streak of great performances. DiCaprio sounds like he’ll be more of a supporting player this time, but seeing him as a Southern lawyer definitely has me intrigued.
No word yet on a start date, writer, or director for this production, but we’ll keep you posted as more info becomes available. Click here for our recap of a recent Q&A with DiCaprio about The Wolf of Wall Street, a movie which earned both he and Hill Academy Award nominations, and click here to read our recap of Jonah Hill’s recent episode of “SNL,” in which DiCaprio showed up to help with the opening monologue.
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