Following their stellar performances in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, for which both were Oscar-nominated, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are set to reteam for a biopic centering on Richard Jewell, a heroic security guard who spotted a knapsack bomb at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and cleared the area of bystanders before it exploded, only to find himself accused by the authorities of planting the bomb himself. And now, Deadline is reporting that Paul Greengrass, whose 2013 thriller Captain Phillips racked up six Oscar noms, is circling the project.
News that Greengrass could take the reins on the Richard Jewell pic is especially exciting given that Billy Ray, who penned Captain Phillips to great acclaim, is already set to scribe this film, working from Marie Brenner’s 1997 Vanity Fair article American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell. Greengrass and Ray’s last collaboration was a true nail-biter, and the stranger-than-fiction tale at the heart of this new project seems tailor-made for the same sort of high-octane filmmaking tactics.
The Richard Jewell project, which various sources have referred to as either American Nightmare or The Ballad of Richard Jewell, will find Hill taking on the title role. Meanwhile, DiCaprio will play a Southern lawyer who, despite working mostly in real estate, became close with Jewell and worked tirelessly to help him through a brutal, demoralizing FBI investigation that led the public to view him as a terrorist for three excruciating months.
With DiCaprio, Hill and Ray already confirmed, this pic already had the makings of a major awards player, and now that Greengrass is in the mix to direct, our anticipation for the Richard Jewell biopic has grown. No official word yet out of Greengrass’ camp, but we’ll keep you posted as we hear more about his potential involvement.