Jeremy Renner to star in, produce ‘Messenger’

Michael Cuesta will direct from Peter Landesman's script

Jeremy Renner has come on board to star in and produce journalism drama “Kill the Messenger” with Michael Cuesta directing from Peter Landesman’s script.

Scott Stuber is producing. Renner and Don Handfield are also producing through their production banner The Combine.

CAA is putting together the financing for “Messenger” and will take the project with WME to the project to the European Film Market at the Berlinale, which opens Thursday. Producers plan to begin production this summer.

Story is based on investigative journalist Gary Webb’s stories alleging the CIA’s involvement in the spread of crack cocaine in Los Angeles.

Project was set up at Universal in 2008 with Stuber producing and Landesman adapting. Webb, a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News, committed suicide in 2004 after being the target of a smear campaign when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California.

Webb’s three-part series “Dark Alliance” was published in 1996 and implied that the CIA was a catalyst for the crack cocaine scourge in California.

Renner stars in “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” and is attached to David O. Russell’s untitled project about political corruption with Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper.

CAA, which represents Renner and Stuber, will co-represent “Messenger” domestic distribution rights with WME, which represents Cuesta. Renner is also represented by Untitled Entertainment.

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