Who would've thought it? Jonah Hill, the guy who rose to fame in a group of vulgar Judd Apatow comedies, playing oddballs, stoners, and horndogs is now well on his way to transitioning into a serious actor. It began with Moneyball, for which he nabbed an Oscar nomination, and continues now with his second nomination for his work in The Wolf of Wall Street. Now he's set to tackle a couple of other serious projects, one of which involves his Wall Street co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio.
Jonah Hill just wrapped True Story, a drama about the unlikely relationship between a journalist and the wanted murderer that stole his name while living on the run. That film will also star James Franco. But Deadline is now reporting that the 30 year old actor has also now signed on to star in a film based on the Vanity Fair article "The Balled of Richard Jewell." The article chronicled the unbelievable true story of Richard Jewell, a security guard working at the 1996 Summer Olympics that discovered a knapsack containing a bomb in the Olympics compound. He was hailed as a hero for springing into action and evacuating the area, insuring that no one was hurt.
But that would all change within 72 hours...
Suddenly, based on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence, the hero guard was turned into the prime suspect. The media jumped on the story and turned his life into a circus, after a faceless law enforcement official leaked that he's a suspect and the Atlanta Journal Constitution published a front-page headline boldly stating that Jewel "fit the profile" of a lone bomber. He became a pariah, a hated man, and the butt of nightly jokes by folks like Jay Leno. The media seized on things like the fact that he was overweight, 34, and living with his mother, to make him seem like a strange loser. They completely overlooked that he was a former Sheriff's Deputy who had moved in to help his mother, who was ailing, while he attempted to secure a position as a police officer, which he thought his Olympic security guard job would help with.
After a media circus, that destroyed his life even after the FBI had cleared him of all charges within three months, things were never the same. He died 11 years later, at the age of 44. At least, in death, he was acknowledged once again as a hero. An anti-government militant leader would later confess to the bombing.
Hill will play Jewell, and DiCaprio- who's also co-producing the film- will star alongside him as Jewell's lawyer. DiCaprio will play a Southern attorney that casually knew Jewell, had mainly focused on matters of real estate, and was in way over his head with this case. Regardless, he was able to help navigate Jewell through his hellish odyssey towards an eventual, if ill-fated, redemption.
The film will be a cautionary tale of what happens when the media, and over-zealous law enforcement, make dangerous assumptions that trample the individual rights of innocent people before the facts are even in.
On a lighter note, it's clear that Jonah Hill and Leo DiCaprio became good friends on Wall Street. Have you seen this clip from when Hill hosted SNL a couple of weeks ago? It gets good around the 1:45 mark, but you can probably just skip to 4:10 for the best part.