The Insider


Based on the true story of Jeff Wigand, a former tobacco exec turned whistleblower, and 60 minutes producer Lowell Bergman. Pacino will play Bergman, with LA Confidential's Russell Crowe on board as Wigand. Pacino's Heat director will helm the pic which will focus on how Bergman helped convince Wigand, a former head of research and development at Brown and Williamson, to reveal the truth about what the tobacco companies knew about the dangers of smoking. The film is based on a 1996 Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner titled, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" Mr. Showbiz, Feb 4, 1998



Directed by
Michael Mann

Writing credits (WGA)
Marie Brenner (article)
Eric Roth (written by) ...
Michael Mann (written by)
Al Pacino .... Lowell Bergman
Russell Crowe .... Dr. Jeffrey Wigand
Christopher Plummer .... Mike Wallace
Diane Venora .... Liane Wigand
Philip Baker Hall .... Don Hewitt
Lindsay Crouse .... Sharon Tiller
Debi Mazar .... Debbie De Luca
Stephen Tobolowsky .... Eric Kluster
Colm Feore .... Richard Scruggs
Bruce McGill .... Ron Motley
Gina Gershon .... Helen Caperelli
Michael Gambon .... Thomas Sandefur
Rip Torn .... John Scanlon
Lynne Thigpen .... Mrs. Williams
Hallie Kate Eisenberg .... Barbara Wigand

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Jeffrey Wigand, Russell Crowe
Al Pacino and Lowell Bergman


Pacino said about Crowe, "He is an extraordinarily gifted actor, and we together fell into the roles, and into our skins as a team...." Crowe had doubts about playing Jeffrey in the Insider, and Al went up to him, took him aside, and put his hand on Crowe's chest, and said, "you have it in here." And well that's all Crowe needed. Crowe made up his mind after that he could do it because he considered, "Al is a giant, with a great heart, soft and kind, kind of like a comfortable blanket....he makes you feel good and warm around him." They really had a mutual admiration society....and played basketball together everyday, and hung out and Al encouraged him to stop smoking, and Crowe asked him when he stopped, Al said, "Ten years ago." And Crowe said, "That's when I'll stop, then...." He gave Al a baseball cap with his name on it, and apparently Al is a baseball fanatic, and a day later when Crowe came to the place he was staying after that, and Al had given him a whole set of baseball stuff, a game that pops up balls, bats, and gloves, and even memorabilia....Crowe said he would "kill to work with him again, and that he is full of integrity as an actor which I can only hope to attain someday."



"The wonderful thing about playing these roles, the opportunity to play them, you see, you get to see what it is like then, to go up against this kind of stuff. What it's like to suddenly be thrown into this kind of a world where the stakes are as high and you're dealing with this kind of a thing. It's exciting because in a way you say, finally say, well, what would I do in that situation?"  (Al on Crook and Chase promoting The Insider)  (hear a wav of this quote - 216k)

"They're just admitting they don't like the cameras pointed at them in exactly the same manner they point them at other people. But I guess that's natural. No one likes cameras pointed accusingly at them."

Pacino says he hopes The Insider "has solid entertainment value. I hope we move people with this story. We all took liberties in telling the story to make it more dramatic, but we never tampered with the facts."

(about Mike Wallace) "I've admired him for years. I think he's done some extraordinary things. I don't think he has to worry about his legacy from this picture. I think his legacy's intact.'' (Fox News)

Pacino sees "a certain amount of irony" in (Wallace's objections to being portrayed in the film just as many of his interview subjects object to how they are portrayed by 60 Minutes). But he also feels Wallace's pain. "I know he has concerns, which I think is natural and which I sympathize with," says the 59-year-old actor. "Whether it's an interview that's written about you or a performance that you do on screen, you're sensitive to yourself, and there's a reluctance to see [the finished product] for whatever it's worth." Entertainment Weekly Online, "Cigarette Burns" by Liane Bonin

"I hope (Wallace's) reaction will be positive," Pacino says. "Whatever he does in the picture, there is redemption in the end, and this is drama, something that's heightened. But I don't want to be presumptuous in saying he came off okay to me, since I'm not him." Entertainment Weekly Online, "Cigarette Burns" by Liane Bonin

Pacino, who has never been interviewed by Wallace, dismisses the complaint that the film will mar the reporter's legacy: "He's done such great things, and that's what he'll be remembered for." Despite the conflict, what Pacino remembers Wallace for has nothing to do with "60 Minutes" or the tobacco brouhaha. "The first time I ever saw him, I was a kid in New York and I was passing Rockefeller Plaza, and he was in a window there doing something on radio," says Pacino. "I remember looking at him, and he waved at me. And I thought, nice guy, huh?" Maybe if he knew Pacino would grow up to make "The Insider," Wallace would have used a different hand gesture. Entertainment Weekly Online, "Cigarette Burns" by Liane Bonin

"The thing is that the movie is a mosaic, and [Wallace and Hewitt] are just one part of that mosaic," muses Pacino. "But all they see is that one little corner. But there's a lot of other things going on in the movie."   The Record

"I think that's the surprise of the picture, that we managed to avoid that kind of self-righteous hero type of stuff," notes Pacino. "I thought we sort of opened up the idea of what happens to people when they are put into these extreme situations. So it's not about winners and losers, by any means." The Record

(about Insider's not so great box office) ''I think it was summed up for me when I met a stewardess on a plane who told me she'd seen the picture,'' Pacino, 59, says. ''She was really happy she went, but she said she wasn't going to go at first because she didn't want to see a movie about tobacco. It made me realize that the perception of the film, no matter what you do, is that it's about tobacco and it's about TV.'' EW Daily "Up In Smoke"

(about the length of Insider) ''Length is relative. If something's working, it doesn't matter how long it is because you're involved. When you become aware of  time is when the sections of the film don't work. I think in the process of cutting the film down, you eliminate this and you eliminate that, and then sometimes it's shorter, but not short enough and not long enough.'' EW Daily "Up In Smoke"



"Al's a regular flower child. He's so relaxed, and so comfortable with himself. The things that you see between 'action' and 'cut,' that's acting. Al's one relaxed bloke."

(about his physical transformation) "I've got a photograph of myself, actually, at Jerry Bruckheimer's house, on the night of the Kentucky Derby," recalls the actor. "I met Sylvester Stallone for the first time that night. He was really enthusiastic about meeting me because he enjoyed 'L.A. Confidential.' And he kind of turned around, saw me, and you could just see it in his face: 'Who the hell is that? That's not that guy.'"  The Record

"Before 'The Insider,' I got all these phone calls, all these messages going, 'Hey dude, I'm buying a Kevlar vest! I'm getting a crash helmet, brother! You [and Mann] are gonna explode!,'" says Crowe with a laugh. "But it was the exact opposite of that experience. It's when somebody doesn't know what they're doing, when the captain of the ship has no idea where he wants to go, that's when my job becomes difficult. Michael Mann is insane. He is a megalomaniac. He drove me crazy. And I loved it." The Record



"I resent being used in a dishonest way to create fictional drama.'' (Fox News)

"If I had caved in, I would be not happy to admit it, but I would acknowledge it,'' Wallace said. "The fact is, I fought to get it on the air. There was hell to pay around `60 Minutes.' Everybody knew how I felt.'' (Fox News)



(about Don Hewitt's comments criticizing him) "He's entitled to his opinion. He didn't seem to have any problem and in fact on many occasions praised my work and its accuracy and the subjects I chose to cover for 16 years." . AP: 60 Mintues Founder Chides "Insider", June 3, 2000, David Bauder

"No one was happy with the decision [to pull the story],'' said Bergman, who participated in developing "The Insider.'' "But I didn't witness anyone at `60 Minutes' in any meeting saying, `We're going to go public, we're going to appeal this higher up,' and that includes Wallace.'' (Fox News)

(about the Mike Wallace and Don Hewitt who criticized "Insider" for portraying them unfairly) "These are people who are used to being in control.   They don't like it when the camera or the microphones or the pens are pointed at them. In their world, the correspondent is never seen mispronouncing a word or losing an argument. Of course, you also never see the loads of people who do the research on the stories or may even write the questions. When the tables are turned, journalists don't have thin skins, they have no skins." San Francisco Examiner "Real-life "60 Minutes' producer talks about truth and journalism

"Ultimately, "The Insider" shows "what can happen when the target you're after is just as big as your employer and may have several economic links to your employer." San Francisco Examiner "Real-life "60 Minutes' producer talks about truth and journalism

"No TV show could have done this story. It had to be Hollywood revealing media self-censor-ship for a mass audience." THIS IS LONDON: "The man who smoked out bent journalism" by Christopher Hitchens



"I played Wallace with as much respect as I have for him as a journalist. I tried to show all the colors he has up there on the screen. He's a theatrical figure, but we also showed his human side. I'm sure he can't deny that he has one.'' (Fox News)



NEWSWEEK: Michael, I would never have imagined that Russell Crowe—who's this buff Australian guy—could have played Jeffrey Wigand in "The Insider." And yet it was such a brilliant choice.
MANN: The choice I got the weirdest reaction to was when I said Daniel Day-Lewis was going to be Hawkeye in "Last of the Mohicans." Because American studios didn't know him. They said, "You mean that skinny guy? That short, skinny guy in a wheelchair?" Because all he had done was "My Left Foot." I said, "Well, he's not short. He's a tall, skinny guy." With Russell—in a way it's a simple thing. I don't cast for physical type. There's this strange kind of poetic calculus you try to work out. "Is this what I want? Do I feel right about it?" And then you're sitting with Russell Crowe, and you decide that the strength he has—the kind of inner drive—is right for Jeffrey Wigand. You just know when you know. (Newsweek, "The Envelope Please" by David Ansen and Jeff Giles)

(on Russell Crowe) "When Russell [auditioned], I was able to sense for the first time the inner annihilation of Jeffrey Wigand."

(on Russell Crowe) "I cast him after seeing L.A. Confidential, where he was by design very tense and monochromatic. This is a very different part, an operatic performance of the most intimate psychological dynamics."  (USA Today, Michael Mann's 'The Insider', by Susan Wloszczyna)

Pacino "is devoid of fear of embarrassment. He is out there. He takes chances. He walks the high wire."

"This is the antithesis of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. There are no heroes or villains in this piece. It's an opportunity to present protagonists who are stunningly like us, with all the psychological acne we have."  (USA Today, Michael Mann's 'The Insider', by Susan Wloszczyna)

"Jeffrey is a man of science and part of the corporate culture. Lowell is something of an ideologue, a worldwide, streetwise investigative TV journalist. This isn't a buddy picture. If they met each other socially, they wouldn't be interested in one another. The one and only thing they have in common is that voice that says 'I ought to be this way.' Each man has a superego." (USA Today, Michael Mann's 'The Insider', by Susan Wloszczyna)

(on the score) ``I like music that has an active role to play. I'm not really interested in music that's merely complimentary. I like it when I can redefine something. Music can redefine the moment to the point that one could turn an emotional reaction inside out with a cue.''  Yahoo, Insider Soundtrack



The whole thing really turns on the unlikely friendship between these two guys [Wigand and Bergman]," says Roth. "It's like a bad buddy movie in a way.



(about Lowell Bergman) "When a journalist who professes to be dedicated to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth conspires with a screenwriter to concoct a movie about himself that portrays him, by name, saying things he never said and doing things he never did, that is not a journalist I would allow within a hundred miles of a newsroom." AP: 60 Mintues Founder Chides "Insider", June 3, 2000, David Bauder




"The Best film of the Year." - Bonnie Churchill-National News Syndicate

"The Insider is an edge-of-your-seat, gut-churning thriller." David Ansen, Newsweek

"The Insider will pin you to your seat...riveting suspense... Dynamite performances, strafing wit and dramatic provocation..." Peter Travers -Rolling Stone

"The Insider is one of the most breathlessly entertaining pictures of the year. It is the essential story of our time, and no Hollywood movie has told it any more compellingly." John Powers- Vogue

"Dynamite, riveting, shocking and deeply moving." Tom Shales- The Washington Post

" 4 stars. Al Pacino is dynamite...a dramatic powerhouse! Not since All the President's Men has there been a true-life thriller so involving, so visceral, so sure-footed at every turn...Pacino and Crowe ought to be Oscar contenders. A genuinely gripping story." Leonard Maltin- Playboy

"The most powerful film of the year!" Jason Miller- ABC-TV

"And as it turns out, this in-your-face drama is the best film to capture the high-flying, rarefied world of a major news organization pursuing a big story since "All The President's Men" in 1976." CNN News

"Crowe is one of the best actors of his generation, on a par with Edward Norton (currently seen in "Fight Club"). Crowe is an actor's actor. He seems to become one with his character. You never see him "acting." He gained 45 pounds for this role and speaks in perfect American dialect. He appears to have become Wigand." CNN News

"Pacino... is at the top of his form. He plays Bergman as a man of deep integrity caught between his loyalty to Wallace and "60 Minutes" and his faith that, in journalism, truth should win out over the nerves of corporate attorneys." CNN News

"Plummer, in his best role in years, nails the essence of the public persona of Wallace. His elocution, preening demeanor and air of well-earned entitlement are right on. Plummer captures the screenplay's redemption of the character at the end of the film." CNN News

"Also look for a courtroom scene in which Bruce McGill, playing Ron Motley -- an attorney suing the tobacco companies -- grabs his moment and verbally tears the heart out of an opposing attorney. He's terrifying." CNN News

"This film is beautifully shot by cinematographer Dante Spinotti who also worked on "L.A. Confidential" (1997), another exceptional film starring Crowe." CNN News

"This is a well-made, strongly acted and intelligent film for intelligent people. Hooray for Hollywood." CNN News

"In his handful of judiciously chosen and sharply written scenes, Plummer delivers enormous satisfaction in an authoritative portrait of the celebrated newsman who is gruff, shrewd, arrogant when he needs to be and always extremely smart -- except for one crucial moment" By Todd McCarthy, Daily Variety Chief Film Critic



Russell Crowe is from New Zealand / Australia and is about 20 years younger than Jeffrey Wigand. He gained about 50 pounds on Bourbon and cheeseburgers for the part. He also dyed his hair gray to transform into Wigand.

Mann quit smoking before the shoot. "Not for thematic reasons. On a movie this intense, I would be up to three-four packs in no time."   (USA Today, Michael Mann's 'The Insider', by Susan Wloszczyna)

A judge in Florida banned the six members of a jury deliberating damages in an anti-tobacco industry lawsuit from seeing "The Insider".

Jeffrey Wigand is the recipient of the "Smoke-Free America" award presented by Dr. C. Everett Koop.

National Board of Review Award: Russell Crowe, best actor.

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award: (about 50 movie writers in the Los Angeles area) Best Picture, Christopher  Plummer Best-supporting-actor, Michael Mann Best Director (second place)

National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award: Russell Crowe: best actor of the year, Christopher Plummer: best     supporting actor, Dante Spinotti: cinematography

Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture, Micheal Mann Best Director, Eric Roth and Michael Mann Best Screenplay based on material already published

Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Picture, Russell Crowe Best Actor, Michael Mann Best Director, Eric Roth and Michael Mann Best Screenplay

Humanitas Prize  UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. (AP) - The screenwriters of "The Insider" and "Love and Basketball" have been honored with the Humanitas Prize, which recognizes movies and television shows that enrich the human spirit. "Tuesdays With Morrie," the TV movie based on the nonfiction book about a dying professor and his former student, also was recognized at Wednesday's ceremony. The Human Family Educational and Cultural Institute founded the cash awards in 1974 that now range from $10,000 to $25,000 and are funded by an entertainment-industry supported endowment. "Not all of American entertainment is superficial and dishonest," said the Rev. Ellwood Kieser, institute president. "These shows tackle the big questions - the ones that keep us awake in the middle of the night - and they challenge us to seek out our own answers," Kieser said.
    "The Insider," based on the true story of tobacco industry whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand, was the winner in the feature film category. Eric Roth and Michael Mann were the writers.




Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
Color, Closed-captioned, Dolby
Theatrical trailer
Making-Of Featurette (7 min., interviews with Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, etc.)
Inside A Scene
Widescreen anamorphic format,  2.35 : 1 ratio, enhanced for 16x9 televisions
5.1 Surround Sound



(216k) Interview: Al on Crook and Chase   "The wonderful thing about playing these roles, the opportunity to play them, you see, you get to see what it is like then, to go up against this kind of stuff. What it's like to suddenly be thrown into this kind of a world where the stakes are as high and you're dealing with this kind of a thing. It's exciting because in a way you say, finally say, well, what would I do in that situation?"
(179k) You pay me to get guys like Wigand....




Internet Movie Database
Rave Central

Imagesjournal - pictures and a review
Brown and Williamson Official Site
Savannah Now article on Jeffrey Wigand "Blowing the whistle"
Dark Horizons (more pictures, info etc.)
Tobacco Industry Information Page (info on the fight against tobacco companies)

Russell Crowe: Maximum.Crowe - Exclusive Interview with Lowell Bergman
Russell Crowe: Maximum Russell Crowe (tribute to co-star Russell Crowe)
Russell Crowe: Russell Crowe's Uncle's comments (Maximum Russell Crowe)