‘Kill the Messenger’ director speaks to NKU students and staff

Kassidy Stricklett, Reporter

NKU got its own taste of Hollywood on Thursday Oct. 2, when Kill the Messenger director Michael Cuesta stopped by to talk to students and staff about the movie and engage in a Q&A session.

Cuesta who is known for directing shows such as “Dexter”, “Homeland” and “Six Feet Under” gave students a brief synopsis of the film, which is based on the book Kill the Messenger by Nick Shou and the book “Dark Alliance” by Gary Webb.

“I think its a necessary film,” Cuesta said. “His belief in all stories, should be told.”

Webb’s articles and book titled “Dark Alliance” sparked controversy in the United States and launched an internal investigation within the CIA regarding their involvement with cocaine distribution. According to Cuesta, Webb was never really able to get a job again after the publications were released.

While the film has not yet been released to the public, there is already a lot of speculation regarding Oscar nominations for the film. Cuesta says that he doesn’t pay much attention to the rumors but he does believe that Jeremy Renner deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance.

Renner, who will be playing Gary Webb, captures a “cockiness” with the character and his passion was present throughout the shoot according to Cuesta.

“He should be nominated for an Oscar,” Cuesta said. “It’s his best work since Hurt Locker.”

Student's and faculty gathered in Griffin Hall for a discussion with 'Kill the Messenger' director Michael Cuesta.
Student’s and faculty gathered in Griffin Hall for a discussion with ‘Kill the Messenger’ director Michael Cuesta.

While Webb’s articles and book created controversy, Cuesta does not believe that there will be any issues with the CIA or government when the film is released. According to Cuesta the one very important thing is to make sure to clarify to people that Webb never actually said the CIA “was cooking crack in their basement”.

“In terms of fear we haven’t had anything come up or said,” Cuesta said.

Cuesta who graduated with a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, also offered some advice for students who would like to become a director or producer in the future.

“Directors come from all categories of the arts,” Cuesta said.

He encouraged listeners to find an aspect they love surrounding directing and get really good at it. Cuesta says that he had little knowledge about editing film when he started but now has learned so much about editing and enjoys it.

“Find a way to make it..don’t wait,” Cuesta said. “You have to do it to get good at it.”

Students and staff were invited to attend a special screening of the movie at the AMC theater at Newport on the Levee that occurred this evening Kill the Messenger will have a limited release to the public on October 10, but will then be expanded on October 17 and 24.
Keep up with us at The Northerner for more coverage of “Kill the Messenger” and check out our full story on Gary Webb.