EXCLUSIVE: Ray Liotta has signed on to play a pivotal role in Kill The Messenger, the Michael Cuesta-directed drama about Gary Webb, the journalist who bared a CIA link to coke trafficking in the US as a way …
Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia, Tim Blake Nelson Round Out Cast Of Scott Stuber-Produced ‘Kill The Messenger’
Production has begun in Atlanta, Georgia on Kill the Messenger. Focus Features holds worldwide theatrical rights to the true-life dramatic thriller, which will be released in 2014. Focus CEO James Schamus and co-CEO Andrew Karpen made the announcement today.
Two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner stars as Gary Webb, the real-life dedicated reporter for The San Jose Mercury-News. In the 1990s, Webb uncovered the Central Intelligence Agency’s role in importing cocaine into California that was sold to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras rebel army. Supported by his wife and children, Webb pursued the story and went public with his evidence. When targeted for a vicious smear campaign by the CIA and rival journalists, Webb found himself fighting for his reputation and his family.
Joining Mr. Renner in the cast are Josh Close (of The Master), Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia, Lucas Hedges (Focus’ Moonrise Kingdom), Tim Blake Nelson (Lincoln), Robert Patrick (True Blood), Emmy Award winner Barry Pepper, Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon), Paz Vega (I’m So Excited!), Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire), and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Spectacular Now).
UPDATE: Jeremy Renner’s ‘Kill The Messenger’ Acquired By Focus Features For WW Distribution On Journo Gary Webb Saga
EXCLUSIVE UPDATE, 9:30 AM: Just after Jeremy Renner and Homeland exec producer/director Michael Cuesta came aboard Kill The Messenger, the film has formalized a deal for Focus Features to take worldwide rights. Focus will distribute in the U.S., and Focus Features International’s Allison Thompson will sell foreign in Berlin this week. This development isn’t a shock, considering that Scott Stuber set it up years ago at his home studio Universal, and it is an excellent fit at Focus. The film is about journalist Gary Webb and how his mostly accurate investigative report on how the CIA helped introduce crack to California got the journalist smeared and fired. He eventually committed suicide.
EARLIER, JANUARY 31 PM: The movie packages are coming together on the eve of next week’s Berlin film market. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters star Jeremy Renner has been set to star in Kill The Messenger, a thriller that Michael Cuesta will direct that is based on the tragic tale of a journalist who committed suicide after being smeared by the CIA. The script was written by Peter Landesman. Cuesta seems perfect for this; he’s an exec producer and has directed numerous episodes of Homeland and has been integral in establishing the visual look of that show. He also helmed the pilots for Dexter and Elementary.
Scott Stuber, who set up this project eight years ago as producer at Universal, will be joined by Renner and Don Handfield, and it will be a co-production between Stuber’s Bluegrass and Renner’s The Combine. Naomi Despres is also producing. The film begins production in the summer.
BREAKING: In what will be one of the hot packages at the upcoming AFM, Inimitable Pictures and Mister Smith Entertainment are teaming for Imagine. Dan Fogelman will direct his script and Al Pacino, Jeremy Renner and Julianne Moore will star. Denise DiNovi, who teamed with Fogelman on Crazy, Stupid, Love, will produce alongside Jessie Nelson and Nimitt Mankad, and Shivani Rawat exec producing.
This is the script that Fogelman originally sold for $3 million to Warner Bros with Steve Carell attached. It will instead be funded independently by Inimitable Pictures’ Mankad and Rawat through a film fund backed by Manoj Bhargava, founder of the 5 Hour Energy drink. Principal photography will commence late April/early May 2013.
David Garrett’s Mister Smith Entertainment will oversee international licensing and distribution for the film, starting at AFM. WME Global, which made the deal with the agreement with Mister Smith, will handle the domestic deal.
Pacino will play an aging 1970s rock star who is still packing arenas and living a decadent life with a girlfriend way too young for him. On his 64th birthday, he discovers an undelivered letter written to his 19-year-old self from his hero John Lennon. He decides to straighten out, stop making a living off by “selling out” and playing old anthems, and rediscover the music he originally set out to make. He also tries to reconnect with the 40-year-old son he’s never known (Renner). He moves into a small New Jersey hotel and befriends the hotel’s manager (Moore). The rocker’s hope: that despite the rough journey, Lennon’s message that love is all that matters will ring true at the end.
Paramount Pictures and MGM’s Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters has shifted to January 25, 2013 from January 11. The movie will also be released in 3D and IMAX. It’s directed by directed by Tommy Wirkola and stars Jeremy …
The Bourne Identity is the rare tent pole trilogy. It generated three films that set the high bar for the espionage genre, despite rampant creative clashes that go back to the first film, which was started by Doug Liman (who didn’t return). Key to the construction of Bourne’s complex mythology all along has been Tony Gilroy, who stripped away most of Robert Ludlum dense original book and boiled it down to an amnesiac assassin’s challenge to rediscover his identity and humanity. While that narrative arc propelled the film through three installments, Gilroy along the way stopped talking to director Paul Greengrass. And while Gilroy has screen credit on all three Bourne films, Matt Damon very uncharacteristically went out of his way to diss Gilroy’s script for The Bourne Ultimatum. At present, neither Greengrass nor Damon want anything more to do with Bourne.
This week, Gilroy returns as writer/director of the spinoff The Bourne Legacy. Focusing on an illicit CIA Treadstone offshoot that genetically enhances the killing skills of a small group of operatives, Gilroy introduces Jeremy Renner as new protagonist Aaron Cross. That character’s arc is woven into several plot lines from the last movie, something that expands Bourne’s universe to the point where another Bourne film could certainly be possible. In a wide ranging interview, Gilroy talks about that challenge, why the mid-budget thriller game that built his career is facing extinction, why screenwriters are so slighted, and how all Hollywood processes the Aurora, Colorado massacre, wondering if movies should be less violent.
DEADLINE: The Bourne Ultimatum ended with Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass bowing out, and then Damon disparaged your Bourne Ultimatum script. And here you’ve come back with a spinoff film that expands the universe and makes a Jason Bourne return more plausible. Given all the past acrimony, what drew you back?
GILROY: I didn’t feel that acrimony. I turned in a draft of Ultimatum and it got green lit, and then I went off and directed Michael Clayton. I was really out of it. But the last thing I ever thought I would do would come back and write one, much less ever direct it. It was just so not on my radar at all. When all that other stuff happened, I read about it, probably through you. Long after, the guys from the Ludlum estate came to New York and wanted to have a cup of coffee. My brother was working for them at the time; I didn’t want to be rude. It was pretty much a courtesy meeting. I went in and they expressed all their frustrations with how to go forward. It was like, what do they do? Where could they go? You can imagine all the wacky ideas that everybody had been banging around.
EXCLUSIVE: Steven Rales’ Indian Paintbrush has made a two-year first-look deal with Jeremy Renner and writer-director Don Handfield, partners in the upstart production company The Combine. The financier/producer has deals with its Moonrise Kingdom helmer Wes Anderson and also with Jason Reitman, who is about to start Labor Day for Indian Paintbrush. This marks its first overall deal with an actor-producer.
The deal comes at a time when Renner is soaring. After successive Oscar nominations for The Hurt Locker and The Town, he starred alongside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible –Ghost Protocol and played Hawkeye in The Avengers. Renner next stars in The Bourne Legacy, which Universal releases in August. Despite his growing bankability, the focus of the deal is to utilize Renner as producer and not necessarily as an actor. Indian Paintbrush’s Rales and Mark Roybal met with Renner and his partner and were impressed by their strong business plan and creative aspirations. They’ve already fixed on the first project, but were keeping it under wraps for the moment. It is likely their sensibility will be closer to The Hurt Locker than The Avengers.
The hot role that actors are lining up for is the villain in The Counselor, the Ridley Scott-directed Cormac McCarthy-written thriller that will star Michael Fassbender. I’m hearing that The Bourne Legacy‘s Jeremy Renner and No Country For Old Men‘s Javier Bardem are among the actors circling. I’ve been hearing …
Universal has just released its first trailer for The Bourne Legacy, the Tony Gilroy-directed spinoff of the studio’s blockbuster Bourne Identity series. This time, Jeremy Renner takes center stage as the protagonist. Coming off The Hurt Locker and Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol, Renner’s growing into action hero mode. Will the film …