Fresh off his turn as a blood-thirsty witch hunter in the aptly named Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, star Jeremy Renner is turning his attention to something a bit more serious. Deadline reports that Renner is set to star in the thriller Kill the Messenger, which is based on the true story of a news reporter named 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 eventually drove him to depression and suicide.
It’s certainly a meaty role for Renner, and one I’m eager to see him take on following his recent string of actioners. Michael Cuesta (Homeland, Dexter) will direct from a script by Peter Landesman, which is based on two non-fiction books: Webb’s Dark Alliance and Nick Schou’s Kill the Messenger. Renner will also produce alongside Dan Handfield, and production is set to get underway this summer after the actor wraps his role in David O. Russell’s untitled 1980s drama.
CBS has put in orders for three wildly different dramas. Check out the details below:
- From Ilene Chaiken (The L Word) comes Quean, which follows a Lisbeth Salander-style hacker chick who assists an Oakland police detective in crime solving. Chaiken and Joel Silver will executive produce.
- Applebaum is based on Mommy-Track Mysteries, a book series by author Ayelet Waldman. The story follows an ex-public defender turned stay-at-home mom who becomes a private investigator to stave off boredom. Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) will direct the pilot and is among the executive producers.
- An untitled period piece from screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi (American Gangster) and Without a Trace executive producer Greg Walker will follow a 1960s rodeo cowboy turned Las Vegas sheriff. James Mangold (Walk the Line) will direct the pilot for the series based on the true story of Ralph Lamb.
Also from the network, Homeland’s executive producer and pilot-director Michael Cuesta recently signed a seven-figure deal that was good from the time the ink dried until June 1st of next year. His next test will be directing the pilot titled Elementary for the network’s contemporary Sherlock Holmes series. Hit the jump for more.
In recent horror movie news, no project has been marketed quite so vividly as The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence). Love it or hate it, it was IFC Midnight that brought the film to the public. Now they’ve picked up ATM, a thriller by director David Brooks. The picture, starring Alice Eve (She’s Out of My League), Josh Peck (The Wackness) and Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker) centers on three coworkers fighting against a man who has trapped them at an ATM for unknown reasons.
In a less twisted bit of rights acquisition news, Magnolia Pictures has acquired US rights to Roadie, a film by director Michael Cuesta (Dexter). The pic stars Ron Eldard (Black Hawk Down) as Jimmy, a roadie for Blue Oyster Cult who gets fired after two decades of touring. He then returns to his hometown to find that not much has changed. Hit the jump for more on both projects.