Book Vs Movie Podcast
Book Vs Movie Podcast
Book Vs. Movie: The Insider
Marie Brenner’s Vanity Fair Article Vs the Michael Mann Film
The American news program 60 Minutes has long been considered one of the most trusted news outlets in the media. In the mid-1990s their reputation took a hit when they were accused of joining in the silencing of whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand who worked in the tobacco industry and accused his company, Brown & Williamson, of sneaking addictive chemicals into their cigarettes.
The Man Who Knew Too Much by Marie Brenner appeared in Vanity Fair in 1996 where she followed Wigand as he dealt with lawyers wanting him to give testimony against Brown & Williamson and his former employer invoking a nondisclosure agreement threatening his financial stability. Wigand felt pressure to do the right thing but did not feel supported until he met 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman. A supremely talented journalist with multiple Emmys to his credit, Bergman, and reporter Mike Wallace thought his testimony was an important story to cover.
Wigand claimed while waiting for trial, his former employers were harassing him and he went so far as to go to the FBI with allegations but he was labeled an unstable troublemaker and therefore, unreliable. His marriage fell apart and his paranoia increased when death threats were involved. He trusted 60 Minutes would clear his name but CBS President of News, Eric Ober (named Eric Kluster in the movie) decided not to broadcast Wigand’s interview as they could be sued by Brown & Willamson.
Michael Mann’s film deals with the blowback from Bergman and the media at large for what was seen as a cowardly move to protect CBS’s upcoming sale to Westinghouse. In the movie, Russell Crowe plays Wigand (playing 20 years older than he was at the time) and Al Pacino as Bergman and The Insider would be a crucial favorite and earned several Academy Award nominations. Alas, it was the same year that American Beauty was nominated for multiple awards for some mind-boggling reason.
So, between the original story and the 1999 film-which did we prefer?
In this ep the Margos discuss:
Marie Brenner’s writing career
The tobacco industry in America and the lawsuits of the 1990s & 2000s
The differences between the real-life characters and the film
The cast: Al Pacino (Lowell Bergman,) Russell Crowe (Dr. Jeffrey Wigand,) Christopher Plummer (Mike Wallace,) Diane Venora (Liane Wigand,) Philp 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 as Helen Caparelli.
60 Minutes edited segment
The Insider trailer
CBS decides to edit the segment
Bruce McGill as the Mississippi lawyer
Jeffrey calls Lowell
Music by Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke
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