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First Look: Jeremy Renner Blows the Whistle on a Sprawling Conspiracy in 'Kill The Messenger'

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! March 5, 2014 at 4:30PM

Focus Features has set a release date for "Homeland" executive producer and director Michael Cuesta's upcoming conspiracy thriller "Kill The Messenger," starring Jeremy Renner.
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Jeremy Renner in 'Kill the Messenger'
Jeremy Renner in 'Kill the Messenger'

Focus Features has set a release date for "Homeland" executive producer and director Michael Cuesta's upcoming conspiracy thriller "Kill The Messenger," starring Jeremy Renner. Based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb, the film will hit select cities on October 10 before expanding on October 17, and again on the 24th. 

In the mid-1990s, Webb stumbled upon a massive coverup involving the CIA, which was allegedly using profits from the international drug trade to arm rebel fighters in Nicaragua. Webb kept digging the hole, ultimately unearthing a conspiracy that could only be described as "sprawling" -- a word on all our minds after last Sunday's conspiracy-loaded "True Detective."

In "Kill The Messenger," directed by Cuesta from a screenplay by Peter Landesman, Renner stars as Webb, who was a San Jose Mercury-News scribe, opposite Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Michael Sheen, Robert Patrick, Michael K. Williams and Ray Liotta. 

It's a juicy cast, and a great topic. But will the film go the unsuccessful way of Bill Condon's Julian Assange thriller "The Fifth Estate," also a Fall release last year? In spite of the growing marquee value of star Benedict Cumberbatch, that film didn't click with audiences. 

Coming off a stellar turn in "American Hustle," and with two Oscar noms under his belt ("The Town" and "The Hurt Locker"), Renner could be enough of a household name to deliver this film to smart audiences. We'll see what happens on October 10.

This article is related to: News, Focus Features, Jeremy Renner, Kill The Messenger


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.