Berlin 2013: Jeremy Renner to Play Journalist Gary Webb in 'Kill the Messenger'

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Kurt Iswarienko

Renner is also producing the thriller alongside Don Handfield and Scott Stuber; Michael Cuesta will direct from a script by Peter Landesman.

Jeremy Renner is attached to star in thriller Kill the Messenger, based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb, who committed suicide after being denounced for exposing the CIA's controversial involvement in helping Nicaragua's Contra rebels import cocaine into California in the 1980s.

Michael Cuesta will direct the thriller from a script by Peter Landesman. Renner, who will play Webb, and Don Handfield will produce via their production company The Combine alongside Scott Stuber.

CAA is arranging financing for Kill the Messenger and is partnering with WME in representing domestic rights. CAA and WME are planning to bring the project to the upcoming European Film Market, which gets underway Feb. 7 in conjunction with the Berlin International Film Festival.

In a series of 1996 articles for the San Jose Mercury News, Webb detailed how the CIA had effectively allowed the Contras to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. and use the proceeds to fund their war against the Nicaraguan government in the 1980s. The Mercury News ultimately backed down from the story, ending Webb's career. Webb was found dead in 2004.

Kill the Messenger is set to begin production this summer. The project had been set up at Universal, but the filmmakers are now willing to go the independent route.

Renner and Stuber are represented by CAA, while Cuesta is repped by WME. Renner is managed by Untitled.