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:

Will Smith Eyes Football Concussion Picture for Writer-Director Peter Landesman

by     Posted 150 days ago

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After recently dropping out of Julius Onah’s Brilliance, Will Smith’s schedule is pretty open.  Sure, he’s got a few announced films, including a Hancock sequel and a third installment of Bad Boys, but his original film slate is pretty empty.  Enter an untitled picture from writer-director Peter Landesman, who adapted the GQ article, “Game Brain.”  The Ridley Scott-produced picture set up at Sony is described as “a drama focusing on the debilitating effects that concussions are having on our sports heroes, and the role that league owners play in allowing it to happen.”  Hit the jump for more on Smith’s potential role.

Peter Landesman to Rewrite and Direct DOWN BY THE RIVER; Kim Jee-Woon Attached to Direct Adaptation of Ed Brubaker’s COWARD

by     Posted 1 year, 28 days ago

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Here is a pair of director stories for you to check out:

  • Peter Landesman (Parkland) is attached to rewrite and direct Down by the River, a revenge thriller inspired by Charles Bowden’s non-fiction book about the murder of the younger brother of a DEA official and undercover agent by a Mexican drug cartel.
  • Kim Jee-woon (The Last Stand) is now attached to direct an adaptation of Ed Brubaker’s graphic novel, Coward.

Hit the jump for more on each movie.

TIFF 2013: PARKLAND Review

by     Posted 1 year, 54 days ago

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This November will be the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination.  There will be TV specials, memorials, and think pieces.  Peter Landesman’s Parkland looks beyond the assassination and even President Kennedy to examine the surrounding figures on that infamous day and their roles in one of the most important events in American history.  It’s a paradoxical film that mythologizes the people who have been overlooked by the history books, but also demythologizes the actual events by showing the details that were overshadowed by the moment when the course of history changed.  The result is a movie that captivates in how it depicts little moments from average people, but also undermines the story’s power by forcing drama on an inherently dramatic situation.

First Trailer for JFK Assassination Drama PARKLAND

by     Posted 1 year, 72 days ago

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The first trailer for writer/director Peter Landesman’s upcoming drama Parkland has landed online.  Produced by Tom Hanks, the pic revolves around the chaotic events that occurred at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  Parkland Hospital is where Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Jack Ruby all died.   At first blush, Parkland could easily be passed off as a film that simply wants to capitalize on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, especially since it must exist in the same spectrum as Oliver Stone’s 1991 effort JFK, along with the raw imagery of Abraham Zapruder’s historic home movie.  However, this trailer suggests that the film has captured the chaos of the event itself and the ensuing finger-pointing, along with the period-specific aesthetic; let’s hope the decision to focus on Parkland Hospital turns out to be an inspired one.  There are a few hammy moments in this first look, but Paul Giamatti’s performance is certainly one worth watching.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Billy Bob Thornton, Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki WeaverJames Badge DaleJackie Earle HaleyRon LivingstonColin HanksTom WellingJeremy Strong, and David Harbour.  Parkland will debut at the Venice Film Festival and hits theaters later this year.

Jeremy Renner to Star in Real-Life CIA Story KILL THE MESSENGER

by     Posted 1 year, 273 days ago

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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.

Jackie Earle Haley, Colin Hanks, Ron Livingston and More Join JFK Assassination Drama PARKLAND

by     Posted 1 year, 279 days ago

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A host of new talent has joined writer/director Peter Landesman’s JFK feature film, Parkland.  Newly on board the Tom Hanks-produced assassination picture are Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), Colin Hanks (King Kong), Ron Livingston (Office Space), James Badge Dale (The Departed) and David Harbour (Quantum of Solace).  The actors join Zac EfronMarcia Gay Harden, Paul GiamattiBilly Bob Thornton and Jacki Weaver.

Parkland will film in Austin and Dallas with an expected release date somewhere around the 50th anniversary of the assassination that occurred on November 22, 1963.  Hit the jump for a list of the actors involved in Parkland and the roles they’ll be playing, along with the full press release.

Zac Efron and Marcia Gay Harden Join JFK Assassination Drama PARKLAND

by     Posted 1 year, 315 days ago

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A couple of actors have been added to writer/director Peter Landesman’s JFK feature film Parkland.  Produced by Tom Hanks, the pic revolves around the chaotic events that occurred at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  Parkland Hospital is where Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Jack Ruby all died.  It was announced today that Zac Efron and Marcia Gay Harden will be joining previously announced Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jacki Weaver in the film.

Specific character details regarding any of the actors have yet to be disclosed, but production is set to begin in Austin soon for a 2013 release around the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death, which is November 22nd.  Hit the jump to read the full press release.

Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jacki Weaver Join JFK Drama PARKLAND

by     Posted 2 years ago

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The Tom Hanks-produced JFK feature film Parkland just landed three impressive actors.  It was announced today that Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jacki Weaver have joined the cast of the real-life drama.  The film revolves around the chaotic events that occurred at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  Parkland Hospital is where Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Jack Ruby all died.

Peter Landesman wrote the screenplay based on the book by Vincent Bugliosi and will make his directorial debut with the pic.  No word on what characters the aforementioned actors will portray, but production is set to take place in Austin.  The film is being planned for a 2013 release around the 50th anniversary of the assassination, which will be November 22nd.  Hit the jump to read the full press release.

Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman Producing PARKLAND, an Indie Drama about the JFK Assassination

by     Posted 2 years, 74 days ago

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Tom Hanks occasionally stars in historical dramas, but he’s always quick to take on a producing role when it comes to American history.  According to Variety, Hanks and his Playtone Pictures partner Gary Goetzman (The Pacific) will produce Peter Landesman‘s script, Parkland, which is about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  The movie will reportedly revolve around the events leading up to the assassination and Abraham Zapruder‘s 8mm film that captured the event.  Parkland refers to Parkland Memorial Hospital where Kennedy his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Oswald’s killer, Jack Ruby, all died.  The film will be an ensemble piece that views how multiple characters, including “an FBI agent, a young doctor, a reporter, several Secret Service agents, Kennedy’s staff, Oswald’s older brother, Jackie Kennedy, and Zapruder.”

Hanks and Goetzman are no strangers to putting together big ensemble dramas, but it’s usually in the form of a mini-series.  It will be interesting to see how they plan to pull it together in a single film.  Landesman will make his feature directing debut on Parkland.

Peter Landesman to Script Adaptation of Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer Novel THE GALTON CASE

by     Posted 2 years, 237 days ago

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In October, we reported that Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver had acquired the rights to Ross Macdonald‘s Lew Archer mystery novels with the hopes of turning the series into a film franchise.  The first film would be based on the eighth Archer book, 1959′s The Galton Case.  Today, Deadline reports that the studio has hired Peter Landesman to write the screenplay.

In The Galton Case, “Archer is hired to track down the lost heir to the Galton fortune. His path leads him through a trail of murder, deception and a tangle of secrets.”  The Galton Case wouldn’t be Archer’s first trip to the big screen.  The character was previously by Paul Newman in 1966′s Harper and 1975′s The Drowning Pool.  Hit the jump for more on Landesman.

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