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Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have been spending a LOT of time together on the publicity circuit for Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. There have been a steady stream of awards shows, from the Golden Globes to the SAG and Critics Choice Movie Awards. There’s that time DiCaprio dropped by SNL to surprise his Wolf co-star. And they have been traveling the globe to attend Wolf premieres as the movie expands globally. Not to mention all the time they spent together on set while making the movie.
Suffice to say they’ve had ample amounts of downtime to bond and plan future projects, and now one of them has risen to the surface. Deadline reports that the two are attached to The Ballad of Richard Jewell, which Fox has acquired specifically for Hill. The movie centers around the security guard who discovered a mysterious back pack at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Initially viewed as a hero for his actions, Jewell quickly was deemed a suspect in the tragic Olympic Park bombing. He was crucified in the media after the FBI leaked details that they viewed him as a suspect. The "court of public opinion" judged him as guilty and ruined his life… even though the FBI later dismissed any charges they might have had against Jewell.
This retro report by The NY Times captures what happened back in 1996:
DiCaprio, according to the report, would play "a lawyer Jewell knew casually, a Southern attorney who mostly did real estate closings and seemed in over his head, but he guided Jewell through a hellish Twilight Zone that went on even after the FBI officially cleared Jewell’s name three months later." Interesting, as it actually sounds like DiCaprio is taking the supporting role, with Hill stepping into the lead. A role reversal from their Wolf exercise, and not what you’d expect from talents of this size.
The timing of this story seems in tune with the pending launch of the Winter Olympic Games, though is producing studio Appian Way plays its cards right, they could shape this into an awards contender carried by two actors who’ve just been through the Oscar wringer (and who have plenty of experience walking that delicate tight rope). Who would have imagined we’d be talking about the kid from Superbad in a string of awards-potential projects? But between Moneyball, Wolf and the upcoming project Hill has with James Franco, Hill has become a reliable Oscar contender, project after project. Watch him banter with DiCaprio, and imagine what they’ll be able to do with the tragedy of Richard Jewell.