'30 Minutes or Less' Too Similar to Real-Life Pizza Bomber Story?

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By Ray Downs, Christian Post Reporter
August 12, 2011|10:42 am

If a family member of yours was murdered in a bank robbery seven years ago, how would you feel if a slapstick comedy movie closely resembling incident was coming out today?

That's the case with a new movie coming out Friday: "30 Minutes or Less," starring "The Social Network’s" Jesse Eisenberg and "Eastbound & Down’s" Danny McBride, about a wannabe bank robber who forces an unsuspecting pizza deliveryman to wear a bomb on his chest and go rob a bank.

The premise of the movie is too close for comfort for the family of Brian Wells, a Pittsburgh pizza deliveryman was forced to wear a bomb on his chest and participate in a bank robbery.

Wells was killed when the bomb detonated.

"It's hard for me to grasp how other human beings can take delight and pride in making such a movie and consider it a comedy," Wells’ sister, Jean Heid, said in an emailed response to The Associated Press.

"I don't think it's funny to laugh at the innocent who are victimized by criminals, who care nothing for human life,” she added.

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The filmmakers, however, deny the movie is based on the real-life tragedy.

"Neither the filmmakers nor the stars of '30 Minutes or Less' were aware of this crime prior to their involvement in the film," Steve Elzer, the senior vice president who handles media relations for Sony Pictures' Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, said in a statement.

Although it is possible to come up with a similar scenario independently of the real-life event, a report by Wired comparing the movie to Wells' story shows that there are definitely parallels that are difficult to ignore.

In the real case, the perpetrator of the crime was the daughter of a wealthy man whom she believed was wasting her inheritance. Lacking the funds to hire a hitman, she decided to rob a bank to raise the money to have her father killed.

In the movie, the perpetrator of the crime is the son of a wealthy man whom he believes is wasting his inheritance. Lacking the funds to hire a hitman, he decides to rob a bank to raise the money to have his father killed.

Despite the striking similarities between the two stories, Elzer claims "The writers were vaguely familiar with what had occurred and wrote an original screenplay that does not mirror the real-life tragedy."

On August 28, 2003, Brian Wells sat on the pavement, surrounded by police with guns drawn, TV news cameras rolling, and a real bomb strapped to his chest.

"'I don't have a lot of time. It's gonna go off. I'm not lying. When is someone gonna come and get this thing off of me?'" Wells pleaded moments before the bomb blew up, taking his life.

Trailers for "30 Minutes Or Less" advertised the tagline: “Don’t Blow It.”

 

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