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Michael K. Williams Joins 'Kill The Messenger' As "Freeway" Rick Ross, Watch Vintage News Segment About The True Story

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 8, 2013 at 6:23PM

The CIA has done some dirty deeds, but their links to pushing drugs within the United States itself is still something many don't quite believe, but perhaps after "Kill The Messenger," that might all change. With the Jeremy Renner starring film ramping up to go in front of cameras, the case is starting to get rounded out and two more solid names are on board.
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Michael K. Wiliams

The CIA has done some dirty deeds, but their links to pushing drugs within the United States itself is still something many don't quite believe, but perhaps after "Kill The Messenger," that might all change. With the Jeremy Renner starring film ramping up to go in front of cameras, the case is starting to get rounded out and two more solid names are on board.

"The Wire" and "Boardwalk Empire" star Michael K. Williams and the seemingly always busy Rosemarie DeWitt are the latest aboard the film. Penned by Peter Landesman ("Parkland"), set to be directed by Michael Cuesta ("Homeland," "Dexter," "Twelve And Holding"), and based on the 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 film will tell the true story of reporter Gary Webb (Renner) who detailed the CIA's connection to the crack cocaine trade, only to be smeared as a result, losing his job, falling into depression, and eventually leading to his suicide.

DeWitt will play Renner's wife, but in the most intriguing bit of news, Williams will be taking the role of famed California drug pusher "Freeway" Rick Ross, who has his own biopic in the works with Nick Cassavetes attached to direct. And the former dealer has issued a statement confirming that movie still in development: 

"Please be aware that I will still be moving forward with my motion picture written by Nick Cassavetes. I am not involved with 'Kill the Messenger.' This does not affect my relationship with Cassavetes or Nick Cannon. My story is the heart of what happened from 79-95. People have to understand Gary Webb came into the story 10 years after it was over. This is his story from the outside as a reporter. Much of how the actual explosion of Crack happened and my life story won't be in their piece. It will be in mine, along with the reality of the impact economically, socially and racially. We also have our documentary coming out directed by Marc Levin tentatively titled 'A Crack in the System' nearing completion."

Production starts shortly in Atlanta and we'd reckon that if all goes to plan, this could be an awards season player come next year. Until then, watch this vintage news segment below with both reporter Gary Webb and "Freeway" Rick Ross talking about what went down in the '80s. [The Wrap/Deadline]

This article is related to: Kill The Messenger, Michael K. Williams, Rosemarie DeWitt


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