The Wolf of Wall Street costars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill both received Oscar nods for their work on Martin Scorsese’s epic of white collar greed and bad behavior; with a global box office take already past $226 million, it’s fair to say that DiCaprio and Hill’s first collaboration was a success both critically as well as commercially. Apparently, the pair also enjoyed working together, as they’re currently preparing to do it again in a film based on the true-story magazine article titled American Nightmare.
Marie Brenner’s 1997 Vanity Fair article – fully titled “American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell” – recounts the real-life experiences of a security guard named Richard Jewell, who uncovered a bomb during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and was able to prevent it from harming countless bystanders. Unfortunately, the ensuing media circus was quick to turn on Mr. Jewell after initially propping him up as a hero; the latter was then forced to endure more than three months of public ridicule/abuse and governmental suspicion, before his name was finally cleared in full.
Deadline is reporting that a film based on the real-life incident is being developed, with Hill in mind to play Mr. Jewell and DiCaprio co-producing through his Appian Way banner (with his partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran) for 20th Century Fox. DiCaprio is also lined up to costar as Watson Bryant, a Southern lawyer who specialized in real estate and had (as Brenner called it) an “eccentric friendship” with Jewell – one that came in handy during the Olympics snafu, as Bryant’s knowledge of the law helped him to guide the late Jewell (who passed away in 2007) through his terrible experience.
Brenner’s true-story magazine writing has given rise to noteworthy cinema in the past (see: Michael Mann’s The Insider) and the story of Richard Jewell is as timely as ever, as an illustration of the dangerous side of the 24-hour news cycle, careless journalism, and how quickly the public’s outlook towards an individual or incident can veer out of control for the worst (something we know all too well about, in the age of the Internet). With the compelling subject matter and one-two punch of DiCaprio and Hill in the cast, we anticipate a quality screenwriter and A-list director may soon be announced in connection with this American Nightmare movie adaptation (official title TBA).
Hill, for his part, isn’t hanging up his comedy hat – he’s lending his voice to The LEGO Movie this week and stars in 22 Jump Street this summer – but with roles in films like Cyrus, Moneyball, Wolf of Wall Street and the upcoming True Story – in addition to the American Nightmare movie – it’s clear that he’s committed to continuing to take roles as a serious dramatic actor. Not that that’s a problem, based on his work thus far.
Likewise, DiCaprio’s list of prospective projects continues to gain more dramatic vehicles by the day, so it’s clear that he doesn’t plan to stop giving intense performances onscreen any time soon. The odds don’t seem to be in his favor of winning the Oscar this year (it may well be the year of McConaughey), but at this point it seems more like a question of when, not if he’ll ever be recognized by the Academy….
On a final note: for those who are interested, you can still read the original American Nightmare article online.
We’ll keep you posted on the American Nightmare movie adaptation’s development.