Two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner (“The Bourne Legacy”) leads an all-star cast in a dramatic thriller based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb. Webb stumbles onto a story which leads to the shady origins of the men who started the crack epidemic on the nation’s streets…and further alleges that the CIA was aware of major dealers who were smuggling cocaine into the U.S., and using the profits to arm rebels fighting in Nicaragua.
Gary Webb and Producer
JEREMY RENNER (Gary Webb) starred in The Hurt Locker, which won six Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow). For his portrayal of Sgt. William James, he received many accolades, including the Breakthrough Actor Award at the Hollywood Film Festival; BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, Gotham, Independent Spirit, and Critics’ Choice Movie Award nominations; and his first Academy Award nomination, in the Best Actor category.
The following year, he was again an Academy Award nominee, this time as Best Supporting Actor for his performance as James Coughlin in The Town, directed by Ben Affleck. Mr. Renner also received Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, and Critics’ Choice Movie Award nominations. With his fellow actors from the film, he was honored by the National Board of Review’s award for Best Acting by an Ensemble.
Moviegoers worldwide also know him for his starring roles in blockbuster film series. He played Hawkeye in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, the third-highest-grossing movie of all time, and is reteaming with the filmmaker for Avengers: Age of Ultron. As William Brandt, he joined Tom Cruise for Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and will do so again in a sequel to be directed by Christopher McQuarrie. He inaugurated the role of Aaron Cross in Tony Gilroy’s The Bourne Legacy, and will reprise the role in a movie to be directed by Justin Lin.
His breakthrough movie role, for which he earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination, was as Jeffrey Dahmer in Dahmer, for writer/director David Jacobson. Mr. Renner’s other films include David O. Russell’s smash American Hustle, for which he shared a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture with his fellow actors from the movie; James Gray’s The Immigrant; Tommy Wirkola’s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s 28 Weeks Later; Charles Oliver’s Take, opposite Minnie Driver; Niki Caro’s North Country, with Charlize Theron; Clark Johnson’s S.W.A.T.; and Van Fischer’s Neo Ned, for which he was named Best Actor at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. He previously starred for Kill the Messenger director Michael Cuesta in 12 and Holding, which was nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards’ John Cassavetes Award.
His initial acting background was in theater; he starred in and co-directed a production of Search and Destroy, produced by Barry Levinson, which received stellar reviews.
Mr. Renner and his producing partner Don Handfield have formed The Combine, a production company that is creating, developing and producing high-quality, character-driven content for mainstream audiences. The Combine’s current project is the feature thriller The Throwaways, to premiere on Sony’s digital entertainment network Crackle.
ROSEMARIE DEWITT (Sue Webb) grace, style, and charm are known to moviegoers, television viewers, and theatergoers. Her upcoming movies include Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children, alongside Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson, and Jennifer Garner; and Gil Kenan’s Poltergeist, an update of the horror classic, with Sam Rockwell.
Her performance in Your Sister’s Sister, alongside Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass for writer/director Lynn Shelton, brought her a Spirit Award nomination. With her fellow actors, she shared the Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast.
In the feature film Rachel Getting Married, written by Jenny Lumet and directed by Jonathan Demme, she played the title character opposite Anne Hathaway. For her portrayal, Ms. DeWitt was named the year’s Best Supporting Actress by the Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington D.C. Film Critics groups; and received Spirit and Gotham Award nominations. She subsequently reteamed with Mr. Demme on his staging of Beth Henley’s play Family Week, at NYC’s Lucille Lortel Theatre.
Among her other films are Lynn Shelton’s Touchy Feely; Ry Russo-Young’s Nobody Walks, with John Krasinski and Olivia Thirlby; Peter Hedges’ The Odd Life of Timothy Green, with Jennifer Garner; Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land, also for Focus Features, opposite Matt Damon and Mr. Krasinski; John Wells’ The Company Men, opposite Ben Affleck; and Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man, which told the story of her real-life grandfather James J. Braddock, portrayed by Russell Crowe in the film.
Ms. DeWitt’s television credits include starring opposite Toni Collette on all three seasons of United States of Tara and playing opposite Jon Hamm in a recurring role on Mad Men. In the fall of 2014, she will be seen starring in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge, directed by Lisa Cholodenko and based on Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, with Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, and Richard Jenkins.
Her stage work includes playing Masha in Chekhov’s Three Sisters (at the Williamstown Theatre Festival); starring in the revival of John Patrick Shanley’s Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and in Swimming in the Shallows (both at Second Stage); originating the role of Fanny in Craig Lucas’ Small Tragedy (at Playwrights Horizons), for which she shared an Obie Award with her fellow actors from the ensemble; and The Butter and Eggman (at the Atlantic Theatre Company), Dream Girl (at the Zipper Theater), St. Scarlet (at the Ontological Theater), Dead Reckoning (at the Cherry Lane Theatre), and Frame 312 (at the Eugene O’Neill Center).
Ms. DeWitt is a graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in Creative Studies, and she also studied at the Actors Center in New York.
RAY LIOTTA (John Cullen) has chosen diverse and challenging roles both comedic and dramatic in the more than 60 feature films to his credit.
The New Jersey native began acting while a student at the University of Miami. He earned critical, audience, and industry attention with his Golden Globe Award-nominated performance opposite Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels in Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild. He next starred in Robert M. Young’s acclaimed Dominick and Eugene, opposite Tom Hulce, and Phil Alden Robinson’s beloved Field of Dreams, in which Mr. Liotta portrayed the iconic baseball player “Shoeless Joe” Jackson.
His most widespread acclaim came next, with his portrayal of real-life mobster “Henry Hill” in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, in which he starred with Robert De Niro and Academy Award winner Joe Pesci.
Among Mr. Liotta’s other films are Jonathan Kaplan’s Unlawful Entry, for which he received an MTV Movie Award nomination; Jessie Nelson’s Corrina, Corrina, alongside Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Majorino, and Don Ameche; James Mangold’s Cop Land, reteamed with Robert De Niro, and Identity; Ridley Scott’s Hannibal, opposite Anthony Hopkins; Ted Demme’s Blow, with Johnny Depp; David Mirkin’s Heartbreakers; Nick Cassavetes’ John Q; Walt Becker’s Wild Hogs; Wayne Kramer’s Crossing Over; Jody Hill’s Observe and Report, with Seth Rogen; Miguel Arteta’s Youth in Revolt; Shawn Levy’s Date Night, with Steve Carell and Tina Fey; Jacob Estes’ The Details; Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman, with Michael Shannon; Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly; Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Joe Carnahan’s Smokin’ Aces and Stretch; and, also for Focus Features, Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines, opposite Bradley Cooper.
He produced and starred in the police drama Narc, directed by Joe Carnahan. The film received critical acclaim, with his performance as Henry Oak earning Mr. Liotta an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
His unforgettable guest appearance on the top-rated television drama ER brought him an Emmy Award and a Prism Award. His performance as Frank Sinatra in Rob Cohen’s telefilm The Rat Pack garnered him a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.
For his 2004 Broadway debut opposite Frank Langella in Stephen Belber’s Match, directed by Nicholas Martin, Mr. Liotta received a Distinguished Performance honor at the 70th Annual Drama League Awards.
Tim Blake Nelson
TIM BLAKE NELSON (Alan Fenster) is an actor, writer, producer, and director.
He has acted in over 50 features, including Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Minority Report; Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line; Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk; Jay Roach’s Meet the Fockers; Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana; Miguel Arteta’s The Good Girl; Hal Hartley’s Amateur; Alexandre Moors’ Blue Caprice; James Franco’s Child of God; and HBO’s Warm Springs, directed by Joseph Sargent, which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie.
His best-known movie work as an actor is in Joel and Ethan Coen’s O Brother, Where Art Thou?, in which he starred and sang alongside George Clooney and John Turturro. Following the sleeper hit’s success and its soundtrack’s phenomenal appreciation, he shared, with his fellow performers as well as with the film and music’s creative teams, the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
Mr. Nelson will soon be seen in Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman, with Mr. Jones and Hilary Swank, which world-premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival; in James Franco’s Bukowski and The Sound and the Fury; and in Josh Trank’s much-anticipated The Fantastic Four, adapted from the comic books, as Dr. Harvey Elder.
He has also completed principal photography on Anesthesia, which he wrote, produced, and directed. The ensemble cast of the NYC-set feature includes Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll, Sam Waterston, Glenn Close, Michael Kenneth Williams and Lucas Hedges of Kill the Messenger, and Mr. Nelson.
His previous films as writer/director include Leaves of Grass, which starred Edward Norton in a dual role; the Birkenau-set The Grey Zone, which he adapted from his own award-winning play, and which starred David Arquette, Daniel Benzali, Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, Natasha Lyonne, and Mira Sorvino; O, a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, for which he won the Best Director award at the Seattle International Film Festival, and which starred Julia Stiles, Josh Hartnett, and Mekhi Phifer; and Eye of God, based on his play, starring Martha Plimpton, Hal Holbrook, and Kevin Anderson. The film received the top award at the Seattle International Film Festival, as well as the Bronze Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival, and Mr. Nelson was nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards’ “Someone to Watch” Award.
He has also acted extensively on the New York stage, most recently in the critically acclaimed play Beard of Avon, portraying William Shakespeare at the New York Theatre Workshop. Among the other productions that he has appeared in are ones of Oedipus, with Frances McDormand and Billy Crudup; Troilus and Cressida; Les Bourgeois Avant-Garde; Mac Wellman’s Dracula; The Amazon’s Voice; An Imaginary Life; The Baltimore Waltz; Mad Forest; The Innocents Crusade; Richard III; and Twelfth Night.
Mr. Nelson was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a graduate of Brown University and the Juilliard Theater Center.
BARRY PEPPER (Russell Dodson) is one of Hollywood’s most talented actors. Ever since he gained worldwide critical and audience attention for his portrayal of Private Jackson in Steven Spielberg’s classic, Academy Award-winning feature Saving Private Ryan, he has been sought for compelling roles by a variety of filmmakers.
Mr. Pepper was born on Vancouver Island, the gem of the Canadian West Coast, where his ancestors had settled in the early 1800s. His family later relocated to a farm on a small Gulf Island off the West Coast of British Columbia. He discovered acting through his high school drama teacher, Mrs. Salter, and enrolled in the Vancouver Actors studio, training under the gifted Mel Tuck, who opened his eyes to the possibilities of a career in the performing arts. He worked in Vancouver’s film and television industry before packing everything he owned into his car and driving to Los Angeles, where was soon hired for Saving Private Ryan.
His starring role as the New York Yankees’ Roger Maris in the critically acclaimed telefilm 61*, directed and executive-produced by Billy Crystal, earned him Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, and Emmy Award nominations. A decade later, Mr. Pepper would win an Emmy Award for portraying the iconic Robert F. Kennedy in the miniseries The Kennedys, directed by Jon Cassar, as well as a Gemini Award.
He executive-produced and starred in the title role of the telefilm 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story, a biopic of the NASCAR legend, receiving a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination; and also executive-produced and starred in the feature The Snow Walker, which earned nine Genie Award (Canada’s Oscars equivalent) nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director (Charles Martin Smith).
Among his other films are Tommy Lee Jones’ The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, for which Mr. Pepper was an Independent Spirit Award nominee; George Hickenlooper’s Casino Jack, for which he received the Hollywood Spotlight Award from the Hollywood Film Festival; Frank Darabont’s The Green Mile; Joel and Ethan Coen’s True Grit; Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers; Spike Lee’s 25th Hour; Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger; Tony Scott’s Enemy of the State; Ric Roman Waugh’s Snitch; Gabriele Muccino’s Seven Pounds; Randall Wallace’s We Were Soldiers; and Jon Gunn’s Like Dandelion Dust, for which he was voted Best Actor at the Las Vegas International Film Festival and New York VisionFest.
Mr. Pepper is currently at work on Paramount Pictures’ Formula M, starring for director Chris Wedge in a feature project that uniquely combines live-action and animation.
OLIVER PLATT (Jerry Ceppos) has enjoyed success in film and television, and on stage.
He is currently filming Warren Beatty’s untitled new movie, opposite Mr. Beatty, Alec Baldwin, and Martin Sheen; has wrapped production on Robert Edwards’ When I Live My Life Over Again, alongside Christopher Walken and Amber Heard; appears in Matt Shakman’s Cut Bank, with Liam Hemsworth, John Malkovich, and Billy Bob Thornton; and stars with Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, and Gwyneth Paltrow in David Koepp’s Mortdecai, which opens nationwide in February 2015.
He made his producing debut on the celebrated independent feature Big Night, which was co-directed by Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci. He would later reteam with Mr. Tucci to star in The Impostors, which Mr. Tucci also directed.
Mr. Platt’s many other movies include Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give, for which he shared with his fellow actors in the ensemble the Spirit Awards’ Robert Altman Award as well as a Gotham Award nomination; Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon, for which he shared in the cast’s Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture; Peter Chelsom’s Funny Bones, with Jerry Lewis; Mike Nichols’ Working Girl and Postcards from the Edge; Jonathan Demme’s Married to the Mob; Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners and A Time to Kill; Brian Levant’s Beethoven; Adrian Lyne’s Indecent Proposal; Jeremiah Chechik’s Benny & Joon; Stephen Herek’s The Three Musketeers, as Alexandre Dumas’ musketeer Porthos; Warren Beatty’s Bulworth; Mark Steven Johnson’s Simon Birch; Gary Fleder’s Don’t Say a Word; Peter Hedges’ Pieces of April, opposite Patricia Clarkson; Bill Condon’s Kinsey; Lasse Hallström’s Casanova; Harold Ramis’ The Ice Harvest, also for Focus Features, and Year One; Edward Zwick’s Love & Other Drugs; Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class; Julian Farino’s The Oranges; Sally Potter’s Ginger & Rosa; and Jon Favreau’s Chef.
He was a Screen Actors Guild Award nominee for his performance in Jeremiah Chechik’s miniseries The Bronx is Burning, as New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. He earned Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations for his performance in the television series Huff; and has also been Emmy-nominated for his memorable recurring roles on The West Wing and Nip/Tuck. Mr. Platt’s other notable television credits include starring opposite Laura Linney on the award-winning series The Big C; and, most recently, a recurring role on the acclaimed Fargo.
He graduated from Tufts University with a degree in drama and immediately began working in regional theater, as well as off-Broadway in such productions as The Tempest and Moon over Miami. He also starred in the Lincoln Center productions of Ubu and Jules Feiffer’s Elliot Loves, directed by Mike Nichols, as well as Brian Kulick’s acclaimed staging of Twelfth Night; in the Shakespeare in the Park’s 2012 production of As You Like It, with Lily Rabe; and on Broadway in Robert Falls’ staging of Conor McPherson’s Shining City, for which he received a Tony Award nomination.
MICHAEL SHEEN (Fred Weil) has proven himself equally accomplished on both stage and screen.
His many award-winning stage performances include Caligula and Frost/Nixon at the Donmar Theatre, and Hamlet at the Young Vic. He created, co-directed and performed in the groundbreaking three-day live event, The Passion, in Port Talbot for National Theatre Wales. This endeavor earned Mr. Sheen a Theatre Award UK for Best Director; and a BAFTA Cymru Award nomination for Best Actor for the feature film, based on the same play, entitled The Gospel of Us, directed by Dave McKean.
In 2009, Mr. Sheen was honored by the Queen with an O.B.E. for his services to Drama.
Known to millions as a vampire in The Twilight Saga films and a werewolf in the Underworld franchise, his other feature credits include The Damned United, directed by Tom Hooper; Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland; and Tron: Legacy, directed by Joseph Kosinski. Mr. Sheen’s forthcoming feature film appearances include Far From the Madding Crowd, directed by Thomas Vinterberg.
On British television, he earned awards for his performances in both Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!, directed by Andy De Emmony, in which he played Mr. Williams, and Dirty Filthy Love, directed by Adrian Shergold. On the NBC series 30 Rock, he created the memorable characterization of Liz Lemon’s (Tina Fey) boyfriend, Wesley Snipes.
He received an Emmy Award nomination for his portrayal of Tony Blair in HBO’s The Special Relationship, directed by Richard Loncraine; and recently appeared in the IFC miniseries spoof The Spoils of Babylon, opposite Kristen Wiig, directed by Matt Piedmont.
Mr. Sheen currently stars in the Showtime series Masters of Sex, the second season of which began airing in July 2014. He is also a producer on the show.
PAZ VEGA (Coral Baca) has starred in several dozen feature films worldwide following, and sometimes at the same time as, her six successful seasons as Laura in Seven Lives, one of Spain’s longest-running sitcoms. She has performed roles in Spanish, Italian, French, and English.
The Seville-born actress had her breakout movie role in 2001, attracting global attention as the title character in Julio Medem’s Sex and Lucía, winning a Goya Award (Spain’s Oscars equivalent) as well as a Chopard Award at the Cannes International Film Festival. Ms. Vega and the movie received additional accolades around the world. Also in 2001, she starred opposite Sergi López in Sólo Mía [Only Mine], directed by Javier Balaguer, becoming the first actress nominated for two Goya Awards in the same year.
She next appeared in Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk to Her. The film received multiple awards, including the Oscar the Best Original Screenplay and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, along with seven Goya Award nominations. Also in 2002, she starred in El Otro Lado de la Cama [The Other Side of the Bed], directed by Emilio Martínez Lázaro, one of the highest-grossing Spanish comedies of all time.
Ms. Vega’s movies have also included Vicente Aranda’s Carmen; Dí Que Sí [Say I Do], written and directed by Juan Calvo; James L. Brooks’ Spanglish, opposite Adam Sandler, which marked her American film debut and for which she was named Breakout of the Year by the Phoenix Film Critics Society; Brad Silberling’s 10 Items or Less, alongside Morgan Freeman; Jada Pinkett Smith’s The Human Contract; Pedro Almodóvar’s Los Amantes Pasajeros (a.k.a. I’m So Excited!); in voiceover, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Alfonso Pineda Ulloa’s Espectro and upcoming The Jesuit; Manuel Gómez Pereira’s soon-to-be-released thriller La Ignorancia De La Sangre; and Olivier Dahan’s Grace of Monaco, which world-premiered as the opening-night film of the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival and in which she portrayed the iconic opera performer Maria Callas.
The province of Andalucía and the city of Seville have honored her with, respectively, the Seville Medal and the prestigious Seville Gold Medal, and the Medal of Andalucía.
MICHAEL KENNETH WILLIAMS (Ricky Ross) has garnered acclaim for his unique ability to mesmerize audiences with his stunning character portrayals.
Mr. Williams is best known for his starring role as Omar on the contemporary dramatic series The Wire, which ran for five seasons on HBO and is one of the most praised programs of recent years. He was an NAACP Image Award nominee for the portrayal.
More recently, he has starred as Chalky White on all four seasons of HBO’s acclaimed period drama Boardwalk Empire, and will be in the show’s fifth and final season in the fall of 2014. In 2012, Mr. Williams shared with his fellow actors from the program the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series; in 2014, he received an NAACP Image Award nomination for his portrayal.
Television viewers also know him for his guest arcs on Community and Alias, as well as his series regular roles on The Philanthropist and The Kill Point, among other TV work.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Williams began his career as a performer at age 22, dancing professionally. After numerous appearances in music videos and as a background dancer on concert tours with Madonna and George Michael, he decided to seriously pursue acting. He participated in several productions of the famed La MaMA Experimental Theatre; the prestigious National Black Theatre Company; and the storied Theater for a New Generation, directed by Mel Williams.
After being discovered by the late Tupac Shakur, Michael Kenneth Williams made his feature film debut in Bullet, appearing in the Julien Temple-directed movie with Mr. Shakur and Mickey Rourke. His subsequent features have included Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead; George C. Wolfe’s HBO telefilm Lackawanna Blues; Chris Rock’s I Think I Love My Wife; Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone; Antoine Fuqua’s Brooklyn’s Finest; Tell Tale, which marked his first collaboration with Kill the Messenger director Michael Cuesta; John Hillcoat’s The Road; Josh Goldin’s Wonderful World; Todd Solondz’s Life During Wartime, for which he shared with his fellow actors from the film a Gotham Award nomination for Best Ensemble Cast; Sheldon Candis’ LUV; Ric Roman Waugh’s Snitch; José Padilha’s RoboCop; Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna and soon-to-be-released Da Sweet Blood of Jesus; and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, which won three Academy Awards including Best Picture.
His other upcoming movies include James DeMonaco’s The Purge: Anarchy; Jerry Jameson’s Captive; Rupert Wyatt’s The Gambler, with Mark Wahlberg; and Anesthesia, which is written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson, whom Mr. Williams plays alongside in Kill the Messenger.
Giving back to the community plays an important role in his off-camera life. He has established Making Kids Win, a charitable organization whose primary objective is to build community centers in urban neighborhoods that are in need of safe spaces for children to learn and play.