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With Bloody Sunday, United 93 and Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass has won critical praise and Oscar accolades for turning real-life traumas into compelling dramas. So it's little wonder he's being eyed for the helm of the developing docudrama involving the 1996 Olympic Games.
Deadline reports Paul Greengrass is currently considering taking the helm of the Jonah Hill/Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle The Ballad of Richard Jewell, which will unravel the disturbing tale of Richard Jewell, the American police officer who discovered a backpack filled with pipebombs at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Having made the discovery before anyone could be injured, Jewell was first hailed as a hero. But before long the media turned on him, accusing him of planting the bomb himself.
Greengrass's experience in translating true dramas into compelling cinema makes him an excellent pick for The Ballad of Richard Jewell. Should he sign on, this docudrama will reteam him with Captain Phillips Academy Award-winning screenwriter Billy Ray, whose been brought on board to adapt the script from the 1997 Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner. This would mark Greengrass's first time working with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill.
We first got word on The Ballad of Richard Jewell last February. The Wolf of Wall Street had just established DiCaprio and Hill as a compelling (yet repulsive) onscreen duo. And it seemed Hill's second Oscar nomination spurred Fox to buy this Richard Jewell story as a vehicle for the comedian turned celebrated dramatic actor.
As you may have guessed, Hill will front this docudrama as Jewell. For his part, DiCaprio--who also got an Oscar nomination with Wolf of Wall Street--will play a lawyer who knew the cop turned Olympic security guard only casually before he became a reluctant celebrity. It seems the screenplay will have the two become unlikely friends, as one is sacrificed on the cruel stage of public opinion for supposed crimes of which he was completely cleared.
The following month, Fox laid out serious cash to secure hotly sought screenwriter Billy Ray, and The Ballad of Richard Jewell went from an intriguing possibility to an in-development project to watch. Now, if Fox can secure Greengrass, they are almost guaranteed a clear path to Oscar consideration. I know, it's only September. And this movie doesn't even have a director. But if you think the producers of The Ballad of Richard Jewell aren't already calculating their Oscar odds, you're being naïve.
We'll give you more on tho project as it develops.
To learn more about Richard Jewell, click to page 2 for a revealing interview.