Ezra Edelman, director of hit documentary O.J.: Made in America, has entered talks to helm The Ballad of Richard Jewell for 20th Century Fox.
Deadline has the scoop, confirming that negotiations are ongoing between Edelman and the studio. Should the stars align, Fox’s Richard Jewell movie would herald Edelman’s feature film debut, one designed to tell the story behind the crestfallen security guard who went from hero to one of the most hated people in the entire country soon after the Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Demonized by much of the media, Jewell became the prime suspect during the FBI’s investigation of the incident, during which time he was unfairly labelled as a failed cop. Three months later, the FBI cleared Richard Jewell’s name but by that point, the damage was already done; struggling to cope with deteriorating health, Jewell died of a heart attack in 2007 at the age of 44.
After charting the dramatic rise and fall of a football star for his acclaimed O.J. documentary, Edelman is a fine candidate to take on such a poignant, and ultimately tragic story. Early on in development, Paul Greengrass, David O. Russell and Clint Eastwood all flirted with the true-life drama at one point, though we understand Jonah Hill has agreed terms to play Jewell from a script by Billy Ray (Captain Phillips). Meanwhile, Wolf of Wall Street cohort Leonardo DiCaprio will produce after initially toying with the idea of portraying Jewell’s lawyer.
Though nothing is set in stone just yet, The Ballad of Richard Jewell looks set to finally ease into motion with Ezra Edelman at the helm. We’ll be bringing you more information as this story develops.