On Friday, Oct. 10, Jeremy Renner’s latest film “Kill The Messenger” released by Focus Features hit theaters. We had the opportunuty to speak with Renner and author Nick Schou about the project at the film’s special screening at MoMA. The film tells the true story of Gary Webb, a journalist who stumbles onto a story which leads to the shady origins of the men who started the crack epidemic on the nation’s streets. Webb keeps digging to uncover a conspiracy, which has explosive implications.
Renner is at his best in the film.
What did you do to prepare for this role?
Jeremy Renner: I had to do a lot research. When you play someone that has existed, even though, they’re not a famous figure, it’s still important to get it right, because that’s what his job was – to get it right. Ultimately, that’s what Gary Webb was, and he was discredited for being right. And so I did my own due diligence in discovering who he was, because I wanted to honor who he was and get it right, and own his flaws and own his brilliance as a journalist, as a man, as a father and a husband.
Nick Schou wrote the book “Kill The Messenger” on which the film is based.
What was the process of writing the book?
Nick Schou: It was really a difficult process actually. When I wrote the book I didn’t have an agent representing me on it, it was a passion project for me, something that I was really determined to do. I got a lot of rejection, people thought that this wasn’t a story that might resonate nationally with today’s audience. But before the book came out … I had already found out that Hollywood was interested in trying to make this movie happen, and had been trying to do that for years and years. Getting a movie made, especially a movie as important as this, is very difficult, and it’s really wonderful to be here and see it happen finally.
What was it like seeing what you wrote being brought to life in a film?
Nick Schou: It was surreal, I actually was lucky to go on set for a couple of days in Atlanta when they were making the movie. I’m actually on screen for a split second, if you look closely you can see me, playing a journalist, wearing the actual clothes I wore when I was a journalist in the mid 90’s. So it was wonderful, it’s really exciting every writer dreams of something like this so I feel very humbled and lucky to be here.