20th Century Fox has acquired movie rights to Marie Brenner’s 1997 Vanity Fair article “The Ballad of Richard Jewell”
“The Wolf of Wall Street” star Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are planning to reteam and tell the story of falsely accused Atlanta Olympics bomber Richard Jewell, as 20th Century Fox has acquired movie rights to Marie Brenner’s 1997 Vanity Fair article “The Ballad of Richard Jewell,” an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap.
The project will be developed as a starring vehicle for Hill as Jewell, while DiCaprio would co-star as a Southern attorney who guided the defamed security guard through his high-profile legal proceedings, which ended with the FBI clearing Jewell’s name three months after the bombing.
Jewell discovered a suspicious backpack left behind in the Olympics compound in Atlanta in 1996 and helped clear potential victims from the area. He subsequently became the prime suspect as the media vilified him before all the evidence came to light.
DiCaprio will produce via his Appian Way banner along with Jennifer Davisson Killoran, as well as Hill and Kevin Misher of Misher Films, whose Andy Berman will also have a producing role.
Brenner’s work at Vanity Fair has been optioned for film before, as she also wrote the source material that became Michael Mann’s “The Insider.”
After making his name as a comedic actor, Hill has been showing off his dramatic chops in films such as “Moneyball” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” both of which earned him Oscar nominations. He next stars as disgraced journalist Michael Finkel in Fox and New Regency’s “True Story,” which co-stars James Franco as a suspected killer.
DiCaprio, whose charismatic performance in “The Wolf of Wall Street” has him back in the Oscar race this year, is attached to play Travis McGee in “The Deep Blue Goodbye,” which boasts a script by “Shutter Island” author Dennis Lehane.
DiCaprio and Hill are both managed by LBI Entertainment, while Hill is also repped by WME.
ICM Partners negotiated the deal for the Vanity Fair article.
The news was first reported by Deadline.