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Jeremy Renner and Michael K. Williams star in the dramatic thriller Kill The Messenger, which follows journalist Gary Webb as he discovers information from the real Freeway Ricky Ross to expose the CIA’s role in the crack epidemic in Los Angeles.

We sat down with Jeremy Renner to talk about his role, particularly the amazing scene where his character Gary travels to South Central to get a first-hand look at the effects of the Dark Alliance. I asked him if he was aware of the effects this had on urban communities.

“At the time no,” he said. “All I remember about the downstream effects about the story that Gary Webb uncovered was the War on Drugs. My only connect to that as an actor was moving down to L.A. in ’93 and auditioning for a PSA for the War on Drugs; the ‘This is your brain on drugs’ campaign, where the two fried eggs go in the pan, then you tear the room apart. That’s my only recollection that any of this even existed. So I wanted to investigate more and understand it more.”

We also discussed whether the effects of the Crack Era helped shape how blacks are viewed today, referencing the killings of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin at the same time. Watch the important discussion above.

Kill The Messenger is in theaters now.

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