When the biopic “Richard Jewell” was first announced in February 2014, it was billed as a reunion for Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, who worked together so well on “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Jewell’s story dates back to the 1996 Summer Olympics, held in Atlanta. He was working as a security guard when he spotted a suspicious-looking backpack. It turned out that bag had a bomb in it, and Jewell helped get people to safety before it exploded. He was later named as a suspect and his life was turned upside down. Hill was set to play Jewell (who was later cleared of any wrongdoing), with DiCaprio in the role of his attorney.
According to a Deadline report from September 2014, director Paul Greengrass was ready to come aboard. However, at this point, DiCaprio had made it clear that he wanted to take on fewer roles. “I am a bit drained,” he said in a statement (via Slash Film). “I’m now going to take a long, long break.” Between that announcement and the release of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” DiCaprio only shot one new movie, his Oscar-winning film “The Revenant.” His plan to take a break from acting likely stopped the original incarnation of “Richard Jewell” from taking off. By the time the feature was revived in April 2019, neither Hill nor DiCaprio were attached. Paul Walter Hauser and Sam Rockwell ended up playing Jewell and his attorney, respectively, though the original stars stayed on board as producers.