Ruben Fleischer's upcoming comedy 30 Minutes or Less
– about a pizza delivery boy who is kidnapped and roped into a bank robbery -- opens this Friday. If the plot sounds familiar, that's because the story mirrors headlines about Brian Wells
. The middle-aged Erie, Pennsylvania resident worked as a pizza delivery man, but was drawn into a murderous plot due to his associations with a prostitute. Wells agreed to participate in a bank robbery under the presumption that the explosive device he would wear would be a fake. Turns out the bomb was real, and Wells was killed shortly before the bomb squad arrived and after he told police he was being held hostage.
Since then, the case has inspired several TV episodes, including those on Law & Order
and Criminal Minds
, but it has never been easy for Wells' family to deal with. Jean Heid, Wells' sister, recently spoke to the Associated Press saying
, "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. I don't think it's funny to laugh at the innocent who are victimized by criminals, who care nothing for human life." Sony Pictures' media relations group have responded claiming, "Neither the filmmakers nor the stars of '30 Minutes or Less' were aware of this crime prior to their involvement in the film. The writers were vaguely familiar with what had occurred and wrote an original screenplay that does not mirror the real-life tragedy." Today, Moviefone posted this interview
with Fleischer defending his movie.
It's a sensitive issue for those close to Wells, but 30 Minutes or Less is just one of many movies that have been inspired by real life crime and events. What makes this any different? Would your opinion change if Wells hadn't been a co-conspirator in the crime? Do you buy that this was only "vaguely" inspired – considering the film's plot includes an inheritance scheme and other eerily similar details to the real case? Weigh in with your thoughts below.