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Ezra Edelman, who directed the acclaimed documentary O.J.: Made in America, is turning his lens on another story of a true-life figure, this time for a Hollywood studio.
Edelmen is coming on board to helm The Ballad of Richard Jewell, Twentieth Century Fox’s take on the security guard who went from hero to suspect at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Jonah Hill is attached to play Jewell and is producing the project with his Wolf of Wall Street cohort Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio’s partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran and Kevin Misher also are producing.
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.
Jewell was vilified but ultimately cleared. Despite apologies from the FBI and other agencies, he couldn’t escape the sad nature his life spiraled into and died in 2007 at the age of 44 due to health issues linked to his weight.
Edelman tackled race and celebrity with his O.J. documentary, looking at the rise and fall of the football star who was acquitted of killing his wife and how media and culture played its part in the man’s life.
The movie would be Edelman’s narrative feature directorial debut. Before Made in America, he helmed three documentaries for HBO Sports.
Edelman is repped by CAA.
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