Kill the Messenger: Michael Cuesta’s Fact-Based Political Thriller








Kill the Messenger is a political thriller, but what Gary Webb uncovered and shared with the world still haunts us today,” says producer Scott Stuber.

It has been a decade since he began developing the story as one of the first passion projects Stuber bought to produce after running production at Universal Pictures for eight years.

“Gary Webb’s story is so powerful,” adds producer Naomi Despres. “Here was a man driven to tell the truth even when forces much greater than himself did not want the truth to be told.”

I have no idea why this intriguing and realistic film about journalism had failed to attract any viewers.  It’s truly one of the better ones I have seen, and Jeremy Reiner gives a truly great performance.

Director Michael Cuesta comments, “Gary was like a Doberman. His scrappy, insistent way of getting at the facts, and his ardent belief in the public’s right to know the truth, was paramount to him. He was a reporter of the people, of the proletariat. He had a pure sense of what truth and justice means. He was a real guy that liked punk bands and hockey. He was not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the bigwigs. We need guys like this, especially in today’s labyrinth of media noise and reckless political media punditry.”

Incarnated on-screen by Jeremy Renner – also a producer of the movie – Webb was a respected, hard-charging investigative journalist who longed to land a career-making story. Kill the Messenger tracks Webb as he uncovers the “Dark Alliance” between drug dealers, a rebel army, and their Central Intelligence Agency handlers – and also tracks Webb himself, a flawed and vulnerable man and a tireless reporter who fiercely believed that his job was to shine a spotlight on even the darkest corners of the world so that the public good was served, no matter how it impacted him.

The twice Academy Award-nominated Renner joined Stuber and Despres to work on the development and casting processes. Despres notes, “Jeremy put the movie first, both as actor and producer. Having him as an incredibly hard-working collaborator in the producing efforts was great.”

Renner remarks, “When my producing partner, Don Handfield, alerted me to this story, I knew I wanted to portray Gary. I started calling in, or just asking for, favors to help get this movie made. Gary’s story needed to be told.

“Gary’s journey was emotional, exciting, and relevant to us today given how impacted we all are by surveillance and social media. Accountability in government and from our leaders only comes when an ethical, free press is engaged and energized. Gary did the right thing at great personal and professional cost, and his plight moved me.”

In the late 1980s, Gary Webb had returned with his family to his home state of California, joining the staff of the San Jose Mercury News. He was already a respected journalist. Furthering his reputation at the latter paper, in 1990 he was one of six Mercury News reporters to win a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the Loma Prieta earthquake. A few years later, in the summer of 1995, he received the phone message that would alter his life forever.

The message was from a woman named Coral Baca; Webb had done a Mercury News story on the U.S. government’s seizures of property from suspected drug dealers, and Baca had read the piece with considerable interest – since her boyfriend, Rafael Cornejo, had been in prison for three years on cocaine-related charges. Webb, who chased down every lead and contact, returned the call and met with his unlikely source.

Baca told Webb that Cornejo had never been tried but that the government had seized all of his physical property anyway. Webb didn’t know what to make of her account – until she told him that the government’s chief witness against her boyfriend was a drug lord named Danilo Blandon, responsible for smuggling tons of cocaine into the U.S., and that she had documents to prove his affiliation with the CIA.

A year of intense investigation, both in the U.S. and abroad, followed for Webb. He then broke the story which would eventually break him.

His August 1996 series of three articles for the Mercury News was titled “Dark Alliance.” The articles ran simultaneously in print and online, with unprecedented website supplements of documents and videos. Webb reported that drug traffickers working with the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras were importing massive amounts of cocaine into Los Angeles, where dealers flooded the streets in the crack epidemic – most damagingly in South Central L.A. The articles’ bigger revelation was that profit from the drug sales was used to fund the Reagan White House-supported Contra militia fighting a civil war in Nicaragua – in clear violation of the Boland Amendment prohibiting support of the war.

“America is continuing to pay the price for this today,” states Kill the Messenger screenwriter Peter Landesman. “Not just the scars that linger, but the billions and billions of dollars’ worth for taxpayers.”

Cuesta comments, “Gary was accused of asserting that the CIA’s objective was to drug the African-American community into submission – but he never made such a claim. His accusers stooped lower still by tagging the community’s reactions to Gary’s revelations as being steeped in paranoia; this besmirching of an entire community just to discredit one man was grotesque.”

Stuber notes, “You’re still floored to realize the extent of the harm: thousands of Americans getting addicted to illegal drugs, jails overflowing with young people, and the rationale that funneling the proceeds from a criminal enterprise was acceptable collateral damage because it aided rebels fighting a Cold War battle 2,000 miles from the U.S. border – despite Congress having expressly blocked that approach. Who could have imagined this back road being taken?”

“You’re following Gary down this road as he uncovers a wealth of information,” adds actor Tim Blake Nelson, who portrays defense attorney Alan Fenster. “That makes you, as an audience member, want to know more yourself.”

Cuesta, an Emmy Award winner for Homeland, kept that instinct in mind for Renner’s portrayal. “Gary Webb would dig and dig to find the truth,” says Cuesta. “Having made a movie with Jeremy before [12 and Holding], I knew in turn that he would work to find the truth of who Gary was.

“Jeremy is very much an instinctual actor. When he digs into a scene, he can go subtle or explosive. He’s dynamic and real; what more can a director ask for? He also has an inner life that the camera can pick up in the most quiet moment: storms are brewing and wheels are turning, and frustration and guilt are thinly veiled – all conveyed with no words.”

Despres adds, “I think that Jeremy connected innately to Gary, not only as a bit of an outsider but also as someone whose authenticity is central to who they are as a man.

“It’s important to consider that Gary didn’t know people in positions of power like reporters at the major newspapers did. He didn’t have those relationships in Washington, and yet here he was chasing the story down when others weren’t, and doing his best work on matters of national security and international politics – an area that was outside his regular beat.”

Cuesta worked closely with director of photography Sean Bobbitt (12 Years a Slave) to orient the audience perception to Gary’s gaining – or seeking to gain – forbidden access. The cinematographer would often circle an unfolding scene with a handheld camera, as Cuesta encouraged him to emulate the viewer’s perspective – but as if in the same room as the characters. The unobtrusive camera in concert with nimble blocking by Cuesta would enable the actors to get used to Bobbitt’s presence and the scenes being acted out would feel that much more real.

Michael Kenneth Williams, cast as Stateside drug kingpin Ricky Ross, had worked with both Cuesta and Bobbitt prior and points out that “Michael cares about the scene as well as the shot. He’s fun to work with because he loves actors and he’ll film things guerrilla-style, which Sean can do so well.”

Producer Scott Stuber notes that Kill the Messenger, while full of seemingly “on-the-fly” shots, benefits from how “Michael’s frame compositions create a feeling of being spied on – as if you’re watching scenes from through a lens, or from a vantage point, that you aren’t supposed to be in proximity to.

“When Gary gains access to information he’s not supposed to have, you sense that you aren’t either. That unease, and then the urge to tell the truth, drives a lot of the movie.”

Cuesta adds, “I also tried to show Gary carrying the burden of wanting to get at the truth. What does that do to a man? Especially one who gets into a war he can’t win?”

As the film progresses, Webb’s increasing isolation is subtly conveyed. “I’d say that Michael is drawn to stories of outsiders,” says Oliver Platt, cast as Mercury News executive editor Jerry Ceppos. “He takes you up close to complicated people, people who get themselves into rough spots. There is a lot of compassion in his storytelling, and in the stories he chooses to tell.”

Cuesta remarks, “I’ve always been drawn to difficult subject matter or, as some put it, dark stories. I just find that the stories that are harder to take are the ones that are the most healing and illuminating; I’m always looking for that light in the dark. As a filmmaker, if you’re going to spend two years of your life on telling one story, it better be worth the time and heartache that goes into making a movie.”


xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88