olympics bombing movie

In the wake of The Wolf of Wall Street, actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill planned to quickly re-team for a movie called The Ballad of Richard Jewell, the true story of a man who discovered a bomb at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia and then was falsely vilified as a suspect in the crime.

Over the next several years, directors like Paul Greengrass (Jason Bourne), Ezra Edelman (O.J.: Made in America), and Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven) came and went as potential directors, but now Eastwood has circled back around and is looking to make it his next directing project. Learn more about the story below.

Eastwood was originally looking to make The Ballad of Richard Jewell back in 2015 as his follow-up to the massively successful American Sniper, but he ended up making another true-life story, Sully, instead. Now Deadline says he’s back in the mix to direct once again.

Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, The Hunger Games) wrote the script, which is based on a 1997 Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner. The story follows Richard Jewell, a security guard who spotted a suspicious backpack at the Olympics that contained a pipe bomb. He ended up saving innumerable bystanders and was quickly called a hero…until he became a suspect. That’s when the media turned on him, indicating that he’d planted the bomb himself and then “found” it just to make himself look good. Those accusations were totally unfounded, but it took the FBI three months to fully clear Jewell’s name, and at that point he’d become one of the most hated people in the country because of the media pile-on. His reputation never fully recovered.

Hill was originally set to play Jewell and DiCaprio was going to play his lawyer, an acquaintance who concentrated on real estate law but made an exception to help and quickly realized they were in way over their heads. Deadline says that no actors are attached and that Eastwood is looking to set his own cast and begin filming this summer. DiCaprio is still on board as a producer.

The project is set up at Disney/Fox and Eastwood is a Warner Bros. guy from way back, so I suppose there could be some friction there that keeps him from taking this directing job. But it seems like the type of real-life drama he’s been attracted to behind the camera in recent years, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him officially come on board. I’m not exactly convinced that Clint Eastwood, a guy who probably growls at the very concept of social media, is the best person to tell a story about public shaming, but I guess we’ll see how this all shakes out.

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