Jeremy Renner Talks KILL THE MESSENGER, His Craft, Balancing Franchises, HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS 2, and More

by     Posted 15 days ago

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Jeremy Renner is a busy man these days, balancing bigger stuff like Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Bourne Legacy with more character-centric turns in American Hustle and his new film, Kill the Messenger (which he also produced).  Kill the Messenger is based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Gary Webb (Renner), whose life was ruined when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California.  His investigation not only threatened to ruin his career, but also his life and the life of his family.  For more on Kill the Messenger (which I thought was really well done), watch the trailer.

I recently landed an extended interview with Renner.  He talked about making Kill the Messenger, the last time he had to audition, what it’s really like working with David O. Russell, his craft, the worldwide success of Hansel and Gretel and the status of the sequel, what his production company is developing, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

Weekend Box Office: GONE GIRL Defeats DRACULA UNTOLD for Second First Place Finish

by     Posted 19 days ago

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For the second weekend in a row Gone Girl is on top of the domestic box office.  And for the second weekend in a row the R-rated drama got the win despite losing Friday to another title.  Last week’s Friday winner was the horror prequel Annabelle, while this week it was Dracula Untold that got the brief taste of glory.  Universal’s horror-fantasy was a lot stronger out of the gate than many expected, though not quite strong enough to chase down Gone Girl.  After taking in an estimated $78.2 million in ten days, the Fox drama is on its way to becoming the biggest hit of director David Fincher’s career.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Gone Girl $26,800,000 $78.2
2.  Dracula Untold $23,460,000 $23.4
3.  Alexander… $19,100,000 $19.1
4.  Annabelle $16,365,000 $62.1
5.  The Judge $13,330,000 $13.3
6.  The Equalizer $9,725,000 $79.8
7.  Addicted $7,600,000 $7.6
8.  The Maze Runner $7,500,000 $83.8
9.  The Boxtrolls $6,676,000 $41
10.  Left Behind $2,909,000 $10.9

 

Full story after the jump.

KILL THE MESSENGER Review

by     Posted 21 days ago

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I really admire investigative journalists.  They’re like detectives who works for all of us where it’s not about protecting one person, but looking out for society as a whole by trying to get at the truth and hold the guilty accountable for their actions.  However, too often we get bogged down in what’s salacious rather than what’s honest.  Director Michael Cuesta falls into the same trap with his new film, Kill the Messenger.  Although his movie (which is based on a true story) firmly sides with reporter Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), the director seems distracted by Gary’s paranoia and government intrigue when the more interesting story is about how newspapers would prefer to sabotage each other rather than join the search for truth.

Director Michael Cuesta Talks KILL THE MESSENGER, Balancing Fact and Fiction, the Alternate Opening, Future Projects, and More

by     Posted 21 days ago

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Opening this weekend is director Michael Cuesta’s (Homeland, Dexter) dramatic thriller Kill the Messenger.  Based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), whose life was ruined when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California.  His investigation not only threatened to ruin his career, but also his life and the life of his family.  The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia, Tim Blake Nelson, Robert Patrick, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Paz Vega.  For more on Kill the Messenger (which I thought was really well done), watch the trailer.

Last week I sat down with Michael Cuesta for an extended video interview.  He talked about balancing fact and fiction while bringing this story to the screen, his first cut, deleted scenes, working with Renner, his alternate opening, two possible future projects (one centers on CIA policy during the Beirut bombings that he compares to Catch-22 and Three Kings, and the other is an action-thriller about an American terrorist) and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Rosemarie Dewitt Talks KILL THE MESSENGER, Balancing Fact and Fiction, Working with Jeremy Renner, the POLTERGEIST Remake, and More

by     Posted 22 days ago

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Opening this weekend is director Michael Cuesta’s (Homeland, Dexter) dramatic thriller Kill the Messenger.  Based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), whose life was ruined when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California.  His investigation not only threatened to ruin his career, but also his life and the life of his family.  The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia, Tim Blake Nelson, Robert Patrick, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Paz Vega.  For more on Kill the Messenger (which I thought was really well done), watch the trailer.

At the Los Angeles press day I landed a video interview with Rosemarie Dewitt.  She talked about why she wanted to make the movie, balancing fact and fiction, the incredible true story, the Poltergeist remake, what traits Sam Rockwell and Jeremy Renner share, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Jeremy Renner Talks KILL THE MESSENGER, Balancing Fact and Fiction, Why He Wanted to Make the Movie, and Working with Louis C.K. on LOUIE

by     Posted 23 days ago

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Opening this weekend is director Michael Cuesta’s (Homeland, Dexter) dramatic thriller Kill the Messenger.  Based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), whose life was ruined when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California.  His investigation not only threatened to ruin his career, but also his life and the life of his family.  The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia, Tim Blake Nelson, Robert Patrick, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Paz Vega.  For more on Kill the Messenger (which I thought was really well done), watch the trailer.

At the Los Angeles press day I landed a video interview with Jeremy Renner.  He talked about why he wanted to make the movie, balancing fact and fiction, if he’s a fan of extended cuts, what it was like working with Louis C.K. on Louie, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Writer Peter Landesman Talks KILL THE MESSENGER, Researching the Story, Gary Webb’s Outsider Status, the NFL Concussion Drama, and More

by     Posted 24 days ago

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Kill the Messenger screenwriter and former journalist Peter Landesman has learned from experience that some stories are just too true to tell.  When investigative reporter Gary Webb exposed a conspiracy that reached to the highest levels of our government, he became the target of a savage smear campaign to discredit him.  Landesman realized this was one of the great stories that had never been told.  By combining elements of Nick Schou’s book about Webb, Kill the Messenger, and Webb’s book Dark Alliance with his own research, he penned a cautionary tale that remains faithful to who Webb was and honors the spirit of his story.  Opening October 10th, the film stars Jeremy Renner.

At our roundtable interview, Landesman revealed what first drew him to the project, how Webb’s experience mirrored his own, his research for the movie, why Webb liked being an outsider and didn’t cultivate inside sourcing, why he felt compelled to re-report Webb’s story, Occam’s Razor and the release of the CIA’s 400-page report, Webb’s troubled relationship with his editor, the Webb family’s involvement in the film, the circumstances surrounding Webb’s suicide, how journalism has become so corporatized that the craft and the mission have been forgotten, and Landesman’s upcoming Untitled NFL Concussion Drama produced by Ridley ScottCheck out the interview after the jump:

Rosemarie DeWitt Talks KILL THE MESSENGER, Research for the Role, Playing a Real Person, MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN, POLTERGEIST, and More

by     Posted 25 days ago

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Rosemarie DeWitt stands by her man in Kill the Messenger, the dramatic thriller directed by Michael Cuesta from a screenplay by Peter Landesman based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner).  DeWitt plays Webb’s steadfast wife, Sue, who remains by his side as he becomes the target of an increasingly vicious smear campaign to discredit him after he uncovers a link between U.S. intelligence and Central American cocaine smuggling.  Opening October 10th, the film features an impressive ensemble cast that includes Michael K. Williams, Ray Liotta, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt and Michael Sheen.

At our recent roundtable interview, DeWitt spoke about her research for the role, how playing a real-life person influenced her approach to the character, meeting the real Sue Webb and learning how she kept the family together as her husband spiraled down, what appealed to her about working with Renner, what she learned about journalists and their passion for getting to the truth of their story, her new film Men, Women & Children directed by Jason Reitman, and her upcoming projects:  Joe Swanberg’s Digging for Fire, Sam Raimi’s remake of Poltergeist with Sam Rockwell, and a small part in the TV mini-series Olive Kitteridge.  Check out the interview after the jump:

Jeremy Renner Talks KILL THE MESSENGER, Finding the Truth in Every Moment, BOURNE, CAPTAIN AMERICA 3, KING OF HEISTS, and More

by     Posted 26 days ago

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Jeremy Renner risks everything to get to the truth and break the story that nobody wanted told in the political thriller, Kill the Messenger, directed by Michael Cuesta from a screenplay by Peter Landesman.  Renner produces and stars as investigative journalist Gary Webb who landed a career-making story when he uncovered a CIA scheme to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. and use the profits to arm the White House-backed Contras in Nicaragua.  Opening October 10th, the film features an impressive ensemble cast that includes Rosemarie DeWitt, Michael K. Williams, Ray Liotta, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt and Michael Sheen.

At the film’s recent press day, Renner revealed what drew him to the project, how screenwriter Peter Landesman and the Webb family helped inform his version of the character, why his portrayal of Webb and his legacy was important to him, how finding the truth in every moment is one quality he shares with Webb, the challenges of telling the story, what he learned about investigative journalism, how being told “no” and knowing when to say “no” has fueled his career, and his exciting upcoming projects including King of Heists, McQueen, Slingshot, a Bourne sequel, and rumblings of Hawkeye joining Captain America 3.  Check out the interview after the jump:

New Images from KILL THE MESSENGER and THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

by     Posted 77 days ago

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It’s been quite a while since that first trailer for Michael Cuesta’s Kill the Messenger dropped, but with the summer season coming to a close, Focus Features opted to unveil some brand new stills from select films on their fall lineup.  We’ve got five new Kill the Messenger images and then two from James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything to go along with them.

Hit the jump to check them all out.  Killer the Messenger stars Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Tim Blake Nelson, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt and Michael Sheen, and will get a limited release on October 12th and hit additional cities thereafter.  The Theory of Everything stars Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson and David Thewlis, and will arrive in select theaters beginning November 7th.

First KILL THE MESSENGER Trailer Features Jeremy Renner and a Conspiracy Involving the Government and Crack

by     Posted 155 days ago

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Focus Features has released the first Kill the Messenger trailer.  Directed by Michael Cuesta (Homeland, Dexter), the film is based on the true story of news reporter Gary Webb, whose life was ruined when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California.  His investigation not only threatened to ruin his career, but also his life and the life of his family.  This looks like it will be a good showcase for Renner, and while I like seeing him in blockbusters and high-profile awards contenders, I like that he’s going to be in a nuts-and-bolts story centered around a worthwhile topic.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia, Tim Blake Nelson, Robert Patrick, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Paz VegaKill the Messenger opens October 10th.

First Posters for KILL THE MESSENGER, DELIVER US FROM EVIL, WISH I WAS HERE, THE GREEN INFERNO, and LIFE OF CRIME

by     Posted 156 days ago

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A number of debut posters for some upcoming releases have landed online.  Briefly:

  • Kill the Messenger – A colorful debut Kill the Messenger poster for the dramatic thriller based on the true story of a journalist who was the target of a smear campaign by the CIA.  Jeremy Renner stars and the film opens on October 14th.  Check back tomorrow for the trailer.
  • Deliver Us from Evil – The clever first poster for director Scott Derrickson’s upcoming psychological horror film, which stars Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, and Olivia Munn and opens July 2nd.
  • Wish I Was Here – The first theatrical poster for director Zach Braff’s new dramedy, which revolves around a struggling actor and husband coming to terms with his father’s death.  Click here to read my review.  The film opens July 18th.
  • The Green Inferno – The first poster for director Eli Roth’s new cannibalistic horror film, opening on September 15th.
  • Life of Crime – The debut poster for the Jackie Brown prequel starring Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, and Tim RobbinsClick here to read Matt’s review.  The film opens August 29th.

Hit the jump to check out the aforementioned posters.

SNOWPIERCER to Make Its U.S. Debut June 27th; KILL THE MESSENGER Drops October 10th

by     Posted 239 days ago

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Here are a couple of new release dates:

Snowpiercer, from writer-director Bong Joon-ho, and starring Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, and Tilda Swinton, will make its U.S. debut on June 27th in limited release.

Kill the Messenger, directed by Michael Cuesta and starring Jeremy Renner, opens October 10th.

Hit the jump for more on both films.

Andy Garcia Talks AT MIDDLETON, the Beautiful Script, His “Chopsticks” Duet with Vera Farmiga, and Future Projects

by     Posted 270 days ago

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Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia flexes his comedic chops with Vera Farmiga in At Middleton, a light-hearted romance directed by Adam Rodgers about two people who fall in love while taking a college tour with their kids.  When straight-laced George (Garcia) meets free-spirited Edith (Farmiga) at the idyllic Middleton College, the two unexpectedly hit it off and decide to ditch the official tour for a carefree adventure of their own.  What begins as an afternoon of fun soon becomes a revealing and enlightening experience for both of them.  Now in theaters, the film also stars Taissa Farmiga, Spencer Lofranco, Peter Riegert and Tom Skerritt.

In an exclusive interview backstage at the Queen Latifah Show where Garcia was promoting his new film, he talked about how he fell in love with the beautifully written script, his producing partnership with Glenn German, the film’s financing, being directed by Rodgers, working with Farmiga and their “Chopsticks” duet together, and why good writing is key to any new project he considers.  He also discussed his upcoming movies What About Love, Rob the Mob, Rio 2 and Kill the Messenger and his plans to direct and act in Hemingway & Fuentes which he co-wrote with Hilary Hemingway.  Check out the interview after the jump:

First Look at Jeremy Renner in CIA Thriller KILL THE MESSENGER

by     Posted 361 days ago

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The first images of Jeremy Renner in the true story dramatic thriller Kill the Messenger have been released online.  Directed by Michael Cuesta (Homeland, Dexter), the pic is based on the true story of news reporter Gary Webb, whose life was ruined when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California.  After publishing his 1996 series “Dark Alliance,” Webb became the target of a smear campaign by the CIA that had serious repercussions.  Peter Landesman (Parkland) penned the screenplay, and the impressive ensemble cast includes Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia, Tim Blake Nelson, Robert Patrick, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Paz Vega.

Hit the jump to take a look at the images.  Kill the Messenger will be released sometime in 2014.

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