Kill The Messenger has been rumbling away as a project for some time. It is based on the true story of a journalist who broke a story of the CIA arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and aiding the importing of cocaine into California. As the film’s title suggests, the reporter in question (Gary Webb at the San Jose Mercury News) was subsequently smeared by the CIA, tragically to the point of him taking his own life.
In the mid-1990’s, Webb published a series of articles which history would tell us was pretty much spot on and although the CIA would try to spin their actions as the lesser of two evils, what should have been a career-defining (in a positive way) expose by Webb led to a smear campaign that cost him his job and segued into a spiral of depression and eventual suicide.
The screenplay is by Peter Landesman (Trade and the currently filming JFK-themed Parkland) and Michael Cuesta is on board to direct. Cuesta has done solid TV work, including Homeland, Six Feet Under and Dexter and so seems like a safe enough pair of hands for this. Jeremy Renner has signed on to star in what looks like a film sharing more than a passing similarity with The Insider or All The President’s Men. Whether its quality will measure up to those illustrious forebears remains to be seen. Focus Features will distribute the film worldwide.