Having recently told the story of Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill partner again to dramatize Richard Jewell’s story in The Ballad of Richard Jewell. In contrast to Jordan Belfort, the corrupt businessman dramatized by DiCaprio in Wolf, Ballad focuses on Jewell, a security guard who discovered pipe bombs at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and was able to limit casualties by evacuating some of those nearby. Although initially perceived as a hero for protecting people from the explosion, Jewell was later considered a key suspect in the case, and suffered severe media backlash. He was eventually acquitted of all charges, and Eric Robert Rudolph pleaded guilty to the Olympic Park bombing, among several others in 2005.
Jewell, who died in 2007, is set to be played by Hill. DiCaprio will most likely personify Jewel’s attorney. Fox has been granted the rights to adapt Marie Brenner’s 1997 Vanity Fair Article detailing Jewell’s story by producer Kevin Misher (The Rundown, Public Enemies), who initially optioned the story. Misher will produce along with DiCaprio, Hill, and DiCaprio’s Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran. The project is currently in development, and will continue DiCaprio’s expansion as a producer through his Appian Way banner alongside his acting career.
The film will potentially be a rare starring turn for Hill, whose previous (and Oscar nominated) parts in more dramatic fare Wolf of Wall Street and Moneyball were supporting roles. Even so, given the pedigree of all involved along with the recent successes of the two leading men, The Ballad of Richard Jewell will almost certainly be under plenty of pressure to perform when it does release (a production start date has yet to be announced).