Cleveland Plain Dealer film critic Clint O’Connor had a solid feature the other day about Kill the Messenger, the journalism true-tale movie opening Friday with Jeremy Renner starring as the late Gary Webb. Webb made his early reputation as a reporter with the Plain Dealer before going on to fame and turmoil at the San Jose Mercury News.
Part of what makes O’Connor’s article so compelling are the candid thoughts of Webb’s former wife Sue Stokes. She remarried two years ago and now lives in Sacramento:
“Gary had affairs. That’s what ended our marriage,” said Sue, who is portrayed in the film by Rosemarie DeWitt. “I didn’t know about the affairs at the time. He was having an affair in 1999 and that’s what started this whole downward spiral through the divorce…”
Sue, who consulted on the script and provided old home videos to the producers, has now seen the film three times at preview screenings set up for her and Webb’s family and friends. “The first time, I was just too close to it. I could barely blink through the whole thing. But it’s impressive.”
Stokes is also fine with the fact that in true and necessary Hollywood tradition, the movie about Webb’s 1990s glory days isn’t entirely accurate. She will be in town tomorrow night for the Focus Features title’s official unveiling.