When I watched Evil Genius on Netflix, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. It’s a 4-part docuseries released in May 2018 that detailed the “collar bomb” case that happened in Eerie, PA in 2003. A pizza delivery driver named Brian Wells went into a bank with a collar bomb around his neck and attempted to rob it for $250,000. It was later discovered that robbing the bank was an item on a scavenger hunt which was supposedly leading Wells to the key to unlock the collar bomb. Wells had been kidnapped while on the job. Police stopped Wells before he could complete the scavenger hunt, and the bomb exploded before the bomb squad could arrive, killing Wells. The entire case, including the characters involved, was mind-boggling. I couldn’t believe it was real life. It seemed like it could be a movie.
Well, turns out, a comedy was made based on this case. The movie, called 30 Minutes or Less, stars Jesse Eisenberg who plays Nick, a pizza delivery driver and Danny McBride and Nick Swardson who play Dwayne and Travis respectively, two men who kidnap Nick and strap a bomb to his chest before they send him to rob a bank with the promise that they will give him the code if he succeeds. There are many similarities, but the director of 30 Minutes Or Less took some creative liberties to make the movie more interesting. Here are some details in 30 Minutes Or Less that slightly deviated from reality:
The Ultimate Motive
In the real life case, there is no clear understanding of the motive behind the heist, but a woman named Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong convinced her ex-boyfriend William Rothstein to team up with her in this horrific heist. A woman is running the show in both instances, but the back story is a little different. Dwayne is convinced by Juicy, a stripper he is in love with, that he should kill his dad for the inheritance and the two of them can run away together. Juicy planned to steal the money from Dwayne and actually run away with her boyfriend. Dwayne hates his dad, so he totally goes for it.
Nick Brings A Friend
After getting the bomb strapped to him, Nick panics and runs to find his roommate, played by Aziz Ansari, at work for help. He clearly wasn’t thinking straight because his roommate is a teacher. Somehow, Nick convinces his roommate to join him in the fight for his life. The two of them get supplies and rob the bank together. Brian Wells showed up to the bank alone with nothing but a rifle in the shape of a cane and a written note demanding $250,000. Oh right, and the bomb locked around his neck.
Nick Has Several Hours
Nick was given the day to complete the robbery, while Wells wasn’t given enough time. Investigators later calculated how fast Wells would have had to complete his tasks in order to get the key to the bomb, and no matter what he did, Wells would have lost the battle against time.
As we know, Wells dies after his collar bomb is detonated. Nick, on the other hand, has a much different end to his story. Nick not only pulls off the robbery without getting caught, he gets the code from Travis, takes the bomb off and manages to get away from Dwayne and Travis, riding into the sunset with the money in tow. A complete 180 from the actual events in Wells’ case.