Former Piedmont employee focus of new feature film


During the first few days of February, 20th Century Fox purchased the movie rights to a 1997 Vanity Fair article entitled “The Ballad of Richard Jewell.”

The movie will feature the story of Jewell, who was falsely accused of being the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bomber.

Jewell was also a security guard at Piedmont in 1995 and 1996.

He also worked as deputy sheriff for Habersham County, according to multiple New York Times reporter Kevin Sack.

On July 27, 1996, Jewell noticed “the abandoned green knapsack that contained the bomb, called it to the attention of the police and started moving visitors away from the area. He was praised for the quick thinking that presumably saved lives,” Sack wrote.

The following explosion killed one woman and injured 111.

Three days following the event, The Atlanta Journal Constitution focused on Jewell as the leading suspect.

He was bombarded by media attention for months until he was cleared by the Justice Department in October of 1996.

According to the reports, the authorities attention was partially sparked by “Mr. Jewell’s career as a sheriff’s deputy, security guard and jailer who struck a wide variety of acquaintances and even his former employer, the president of Piedmont College, as overzealous and eager for attention.”

In 2005, Eric Rudolph pleaded guilty to the attack, and he is serving a life sentence in prison in Florence, Co.

In 2007, Jewell died of natural causes in Woodbury.

Twentieth Century Fox’s film will feature Jonah Hill as Jewell and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jewell’s attorney.

According to an email sent by James Mellichamp to faculty and staff on Feb. 10, Piedmont is aware of the upcoming film, and “the college’s position is ‘no comment’ about the project.”