Leonard DiCaprio's last film, "The Revenant," has been available on Netflix for the better part of the last few months. That film tells the tale of Hugh Glass, an American frontiersman that survived a bear attack. The details of the movie are the typical not-perfectly-true #Hollywood-style renditions of history. For example, in the film Hugh Glass catches and contributes to the death of his chief antagonist to conclude the film while in real life things went a little differently then portrayed. People seem to accept half-truths when watching their Hollywood flicks and that's an interesting thing to note when looking ahead at DiCaprio's expected next major role, a movie that focuses on how half-truths can actually ruin someone's life.
Richard Jewell and the 1996 Olympics
Leonardo DiCaprio won an award for his portrayal of Glass in "The Revenant." In his next film, which is called "The Ballad of Richard Jewell" expectations promise to be high. The titular character himself will be played by Jonah Hill with DiCaprio merely listed as an actor in the film at this point with IMDB.com.
Richard Jewell was a real-life American who had the misfortune of discovering a bomb as a security guard at the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. I say "misfortune" because I've read a lot of true crime in my life. You might think that finding something incriminating and then reporting it to the authorities might actually make you a hero. But in truth, if you find something like a dead body or a bomb -- and the authorities can't find a suspect -- guess who the suspect often becomes until such point that they do? The person who found the dead body or bomb.
Clint Eastwood, who will turn 87 in 2017, is the rumored director of the film. If his telling of Richard Jewell's public life is true then the recapping of the history of the Atlanta Olympics event and the aftermath contains plot spoilers (you've been warned).
The IMDB summary of "The Ballad of Richard Jewell" is as follows: "American security guard...heroically saves thousands of lives from an exploding bomb at the 1996 Olympics, but is unjustly vilified by journalists and the press who falsely report that he was a terrorist." After finding the bomb and saving lives, Jewell, who died in 2007, went through a trial by media. Multiple lawsuits were ultimately settled in his favor and the FBI cleared him.
What I think the film will be like thematically
What I'm expecting in "The Ballad of Richard Jewell" is a film that condemns the media through an empathetic portrayal of Jewell as a victim of insinuation and association. What I'm interested in is how the public is portrayed in the film. After all, insinuation and reporters stating their opinions compose just one matter. A public that uncritically accepts authority renditions is another.
Perhaps a big clue into what the movie will look like can be found in an old online Vanity Fair article from February 1997. Marie Brenner is listed at IMDB as one of the film's writers. She also authored an article in 1997 titled "The Ballad of Richard Jewell," the exact title of the film, with the following opening statements: "On July 30, 1996, the media identified Richard Jewell as the F.B.I.'s prime suspect in the Olympic Park bombing. For the first time, the 34-year-old security guard tells his extraordinary story: his brief moment as a national hero, his hounding by the Feds and the press, and his eccentric friendship with the unknown southern lawyer."
Will it be like 2014's 'Gone Girl'?
Leonardo DiCaprio, who always plays pretty amicable characters, plays that lawyer in a film that I think might have some themes in common with 2014's "Gone Girl." For those that saw that film, we saw a character condemned in the media for a crime he did not commit. The insinuation of media writers and an unwitting public are the ingredients in the recipe for injustice. As for a release date, my guess is that this is a 2018 film, but it's still to be determined. #LeonardoDiCaprio #JonahHill