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After teaming up successfully — critically and financially — for The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are partnering again. This time, they will tell the true story of Richard Jewell, the security guard who went from hero to suspect at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Fox has picked up the rights to the Vanity Fair article The Ballad of Richard Jewell, written by Marie Brenner, for the duo to star in.
DiCaprio will produce the adaptation with his partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Hill and Kevin Misher, who initially optioned the material.
Jewell was working as a security guard at the ’96 Summer Games when he discovered a backpack containing pipe bombs, subsequently sounding the alarm and helping to clear the area. However, the bomb did detonate, killing one person and injuring dozens of others.
Initially hailed as a hero, Jewell was soon the prime suspect, as the FBI searched his home twice. A media frenzy painted him as an overweight failed cop and mama’s boy, and he became the punchline for late-night jokes.
After being raked over the coals by the media, Jewell was cleared, but the damage had been done. Lawsuits followed (against NBC and CNN, among several others), and the FBI and other government agencies were forced to make public apologies.
Jewell, who did work as a police officer and a sheriff’s deputy, died in 2007 at the age of 44 due to health issues linked to his weight.
The project is in development, and the goal is for Hill to play Jewell and DiCaprio to play Jewell’s attorney.
The Wolf of Wall Street has grossed $103 million domestically and $226 million worldwide, while also nabbing five Oscar nominations, including ones for DiCaprio and Hill in the acting categories.
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