After being nominated for a Oscar for his nail-biting true tale of modern day piracy, Captain Phillips scribe Billy Ray has jumped on board another tense, true-history project – The Ballad of Richard Jewell, a drama about the attempted 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, which currently has Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill attached to star.
In The Ballad of Richard Jewell, based on Marie Brenner’s Vanity Fair article American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell, Hill will play the titular security guard, who discovered a knapsack bomb during the Olympics and cleared bystanders before it exploded, only to later find himself slandered by the media and named a suspect. DiCaprio is set to play Jewell’s lawyer, who struggled to clear his client’s name during a media firestorm.
DiCaprio and Hill previously worked together on Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, about the wild lifestyle of corrupt New York stockbrokers in the late 1980s. Both actors received Oscar nominations for their performances, and given the dramatic nature of the material they’ll be working with in The Ballad of Richard Jewell, I could easily see them both nabbing Oscar noms again in the year this film releases.
In addition to The Ballad of Richard Jewell, Ray is already working on scripts for the Martin Scorsese-helmed biopic Sinatra and Universal’s reboot of The Mummy. Meanwhile, Hill is recording his lines for animated comedy Sausage Party and is also set to star in Max Landis’s action comedy Good Time Gang, alongside Mark Wahlberg. Given the work that those two have lined up (DiCaprio’s schedule is unusually open), it might be a while until filming can get underway.
However, 20th Century Fox is moving quickly to lock all of the pieces into place for The Ballad of Richard Jewell, meaning that the studio considers the project to be a high priority, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect that we’ll see the film by the fall of 2015.
As always, we’ll keep you posted as this project progresses.