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

by Ryan Lattanzio
March 5, 2014 4:30 PM
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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.


  • Red | March 6, 2014 1:37 PMReply

    Landesman (a former journalist) based his script on Gary Webb's book Dark Alliance and Nick Schou's book about Gary Webb titled Kill the Messenger. Both books are amazing, incredible but true story of the CIA, the Contras and the power of the mainstream media to assist in covering up the truth. True investigative journalism is a dying art in our society and Gary's story is one of the reason why - This story needs to be told.

  • Brian | March 6, 2014 11:57 AMReply

    Correction: Gary Webb was not a CIA whistleblower. He would have to have been working for the CIA in order for that to be true. He did not "blow a whistle," but instead simply reported on a story that came across his desk and followed where it led--to drug dealers in the U.S. dealing cocaine that was acquired through CIA assets in Central America. Yes, the CIA had a hand in the crack cocaine that was hitting the streets of L.A. So what happened to the story? The entire mainstream media in this country turned on Gary Webb, working actively to "discredit" his story and eventually getting him fired from his newspaper simply for doing what a good reporter's supposed to do. Why did this happen? Because every mainstream media outlet in this country is aligned with the CIA. Webb was eventually found dead with two shots to the head and it was ruled a suicide. Have YOU ever heard of suicides firing a second time?

  • Toni | March 6, 2014 1:38 AMReply

    The Fifth Estate has an unsympathetic protagonist, a vague and incomplete story and, I believe, a quick turn around. This film has none of those disadvantages. What really killed the Fifth Estate was poor reviews; an awards friendly release date set after completion and at least one test screening suggests this film won't have the same problem.

  • wlk68 | March 5, 2014 7:27 PMReply

    I think this is a very important story and I like Jeremy Renner so I am anxious to see this movie.

  • Jesse | March 5, 2014 6:16 PMReply

    I could not be more excited for this film. This story needs to be told, and I don't think it could be in better hands. I'm really looking forward to another entry from the stellar Jeremy Renner. His films are consistently good, and this one looks like it could be important too.

  • steve barr | March 5, 2014 5:35 PMReply

    I"ve been waiting for this story to be told for years . If done right it could be the movie of the year .

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