Monday, April 1, 2013

Kill the Messenger - Better Late Than Never

Just a tiny diversion from my coverage of Synopsizing Sibel Edmonds, though the subject did come up during the course of those interviews.  In my analysis of Part Four, I elaborated on how she mentioned Gary Webb in Part Two, and talked about his significance.  Most Americans don't really know much about him and I was always afraid that that would remain the case.  However, I recently noticed a thread started on Rigorous Intuition by my good friend seemslikeadream announcing that a movie about Gary Webb starring Jeremy Renner was set to begin filming this summer!  The article linked to the thread does a great job expressing why his story is important; here's a little snip to explain:

So, why is Hollywood so interested in an “ancient” story that has traversed through time over the past three decades? Because Gary Webb, with a Hunter S. Thompson-esque swagger, was the quintessential investigative reporter – a dogged inquisitor with innately crazy-good skills. Because Gary Webb was tough. And because, eight years after his series “Dark Alliance” which detailed tangential ties between crack kingpins and the CIA, Gary Webb fired two shots into his head killing himself. Two shots. Even in desperation Gary was determined.

Based on the book by Nick Schou, “Kill The Messenger” will focus on Gary Webb’s sad saga, forced to defend himself from withering criticism — not just from the government but from within the ranks of his own profession. Hollywood obviously cares about the tragic tale of Gary Webb because it has all the elements of an explosive drama: conflict, controversy, and political intrigue. It provides for worthy commentary fodder on a slew of our democratic institutions.

Beyond the immensely important aspects connecting the CIA to drug dealers, the rest of us should care because behind this little slice of history is a cautionary tale for all news gatherers and consumers of the New Media. Because, while on the surface, Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series for the San Jose Mercury News in 1996 was based on old-school gumshoe reporting techniques, it helped usher in the digital world of news dissemination.

The story mentioned that Jeremy Renner was starring, but didn't mention who else was involved.  I found another article that gave more information on the production:

Berlin 2013: Jeremy Renner's Gary Webb Biopic 'Kill the Messenger' Sells Out

Jeremy Renner

Renner will play a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was found dead after being denounced for exposing the CIA's controversial involvement in Nicaragua.

BERLIN -- Jeremy Renner thriller Kill the Messenger, the biopic of disgraced journalist Gary Webb, has been a top seller at the European Film Market in Berlin.

Focus Features International co-president Alison Thompson said Monday that rights to distribute the movie have been snapped up by buyers across the globe. Director Michael Cuesta begins shooting Kill the Messenger in the summer from a script by Peter Landesman.
Focus boarded the project on the eve of the European Film Market in Berlin and will release the film in the U.S. (The project previously was set up at Focus parent company Universal.)

Kill the Messenger is based on the true story of  Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Webb, who committed suicide after being denounced for exposing the CIA's controversial involvement in helping Nicaragua's Contra rebels import cocaine into California during the 1980s.

I'm hoping this will get the same type of Oscar attention as All the President's Men, but I'm not holding my breath.  Bottom line, regardless of awards or box office lucre, my one hope for this movie is that it tells the truth: Gary Webb was right.


Tanya Savko said...

Definitely sounds like a must-see!

Tanya Savko said...

Definitely sounds like a must-see!

Robert Paulsen said...

Yes, great to see an actor of Jeremy Renner's caliber attached. He's producing it to, so I can't wait to read what his perspective is.