Jeremy Renner To Play Journalist Gary Webb In ‘Kill The Messenger’
Deadline bring word that Jeremy Renner is set to star in the thriller ‘Kill The Messenger.’ Directed by Michael Cuesta (Homeland, Dexter) from a script by Peter Landesman, the film is based on the true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb, a San Jose Mercury News reporter who committed suicide after being the target of a smear campaign when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California.
Peter Landesman, who is right now making his directorial debut on the JFK assassination pic ‘Parkland,’ put the script together with source material from two books: ‘Dark Alliance: The CIA, The Contras, And The Crack Cocaine Explosion,’ by Gary Webb, and Nick Schou’s ‘Kill The Messenger: How The CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb.’
The synopsis for ‘Kill The Messenger: How The CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb’ is as follows: Kill the Messenger tells the story of the tragic death of Gary Webb, the controversial newspaper reporter who committed suicide in December 2004. Webb is the former San Jose Mercury News reporter whose 1996 “Dark Alliance” series on the so-called CIA-crack cocaine connection created a firestorm of controversy and led to his resignation from the paper amid escalating attacks on his work by the mainstream media.
Author and investigative journalist Nick Schou published numerous articles on the controversy and was the only reporter to significantly advance Webb’s stories. Drawing on exhaustive research and highly personal interviews with Webb’s family, colleagues, supporters and critics, this book argues convincingly that Webb’s editors betrayed him, despite mounting evidence that his stories were correct. Kill the Messenger examines the “Dark Alliance” controversy, what it says about the current state of journalism in America, and how it led Webb to ultimately take his own life. Webb’s widow, Susan Bell, remains an ardent defender of her ex-husband. By combining her story with a probing examination of the one of the most important media scandals in recent memory, this book provides a gripping view of one of the greatest tragedies in the annals of investigative journalism.
Scott Stuber, who set up this project eight years ago as producer at Universal Pictures, will be joined by Jeremy Renner and Don Handfield, and it will be a co-production between Stuber’s Bluegrass and Renner’s The Combine. Naomi Despres is also producing. ‘Kill The Messenger’ begins production in the summer, presumably after Renner films David O Russell’s as-yet-untitled Abscam drama. That film also stars the likes of Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper.
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