Last week, ESPN gave us 30 for 30 Short: Judging Jewell, portraying the bombings at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and focusing on wrongly accused security guard Richard Jewell. Well, earlier today, it was announced that Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are going to team up to make a movie about this tragedy.
Via The A.V. Club:
Hill is set to star as Richard Jewell, the Atlanta security guard who reported a suspicious backpack at the 1996 Olympics, and heroically saved lives in the subsequent bombing by domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph, only to become a suspect himself. The movie will be based on Marie Brenner's aptly titled 1997 Vanity Fair article, "American Nightmare: The Ballad Of Richard Jewell."
DiCaprio will play Watson Bryant, the Southern real estate lawyer who helped guide Jewell through the subsequent investigation that yielded no evidence, yet still found Jewell tried in a court of public opinion, hounded by a press desperate for a suspect, targeted by assholes who were just learning how to use he Internet to ruin people, and ruthlessly mocked in late-night comedy monologues that branded him a fat loser who lived with his mom.
It will be interesting to see the angle the movie takes – likely a cautionary tale to warn those involved in the 24/7 news cycle not to rush to judgment. Jewell was eventually exonerated, but died in 2007 at the age of 44. While he sued many news outlets for libel, it's unfortunate that the last decade of his life was spent engulfed in personal turmoil thanks to a terrible mistake.