We haven't heard much about the dramatic thriller Kill the Messenger since we reported in late July that production started. Today, we have the first two photos featuring Jeremy Renner as journalist Gary Webb, who wrote a report in 1996 that alleged the CIA was helping the Nicaraguan Contra Army smuggle cocaine into California. The story follows the smear campaign launched to discredit the reporter, and his efforts to put his life back together. Take a look at the photos, then read on for more about the story from Jeremy Renner and director Michael Cuesta.
When asked about playing an investigative journalist in the film, Jeremy Renner said that news reporting is quite a difficult profession.
"That is one tough trade. It took me to a pretty intense world."
Director Michael Cuesta also talked about how the reporter never expected to get the story he ended up with.
"Gary just starts digging and keeps digging like a Doberman to find the truth. But he never expected the story to have the response it did. He was controversial-ized."
Jeremy Renner also spoke about the controversy that followed Webb's story, and how his editors distanced themselves from the piece by backtracking in an editorial.
"Good investigative journalism ruffles feathers. From the reaction he got, Gary was doing something right. It's a man left out in the wind on his own. The letter was the ultimate betrayal for Gary, I believe. The mothership bailed and that crushed him."
The actor spoke about his preparations to play a journalist who has illegible handwriting.
"Fortunately, Gary was known for having really (terrible) handwriting anyways. Mine is not great. We had to reshoot a few scenes when we did close-ups of my written words."
Gary Webb ultimately committed suicide in 2004 following the backlash from his original story, which some conspiracy theorists claim was a suspicious death. Jeremy Renner had this to say about the suicide.
"Everything he had in his life was his job. And you take that away from a man, then it leads to a tragic situation."
Michael Cuesta added that this isn't a "big message" story.
"I'm not thinking big message or an indictment film. I'm not Oliver Stone. The movie to me was much more about the burden Gary carries wanting to get to the truth. And what that does to you. I am more interested in seeing a man who goes out and fights what seems like an unwinnable war."