April 24, 2024  
The Insider

The motion picture "The Insider" is an accounting of the events leading up to and surrounding Dr. Wigand's "60 Minutes" interview.

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Dr. Wigand was on set for the film on two occasions, but had no say in its final script or content. He did, however, request that the actual names of his younger daughters portrayed in the film be changed, that the nature of the health care issue of his one daughter be disguised, and that smoking not be glamorized. All of his requests were granted.

The Insider was nominated for 7 Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Actor and Director), and 5 Golden Globes. It didn't win in any of the nominated categories for those two awards, however it did won awards from the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Broadcast Film Critics Association,the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, the London Critics Circle Film Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the National Board of Review, the National Society of Film Critics, the Political Film Society, the Prism Awards, the Santa Fe Film Critics Circle Awards, and the Satellite Awards, as well as winning The Humanitas Prize.

The Insider - Production Information
(from the official Press Kit)

Jeffrey Wigand (RUSSELL CROWE) was a central witness in the lawsuits filed by Mississippi and 49 other states against the tobacco industry which were eventually settled for $246 billion. Wigand, former head of research for Brown & Williamson, was a top scientist, the ultimate insider. No one like him had ever gone public before.

Meanwhile, Lowell Bergman (AL PACINO), investigative reporter and "60 Minutes" producer, mostly for Mike Wallace (CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER) segments, taped the famous Wigand interview with its devastating statements, and arranged a legal defense team for Wigand. However, before the most newsworthy "60 Minutes" segment in years could air, Bergman would lose to a CBS corporate decision to kill it and would experience the fracturing of loyalties and bitter divisions within "60 Minutes".

Wigand would find himself sued, targeted in a national smear campaign, divorced and facing possible incarceration. Wigand, having wagered so much and now unable to deliver his testimony to the American people, and Bergman trying to defeat the smear campaign and fighting to force CBS to air the interview, are two ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances. They find themselves in a fight from which no one will emerge as he entered and nothing will be the same again.

About the Production
(from the official Press Kit)

Principal photography on "The Insider" commenced in Louisville, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Derby and the Louisville Slugger Baseball Museum, where the historic Seelbach Hotel served as a key shooting location. A local bank building stood in for the site of Brown & Williamson's home office. The company also filmed in the suburban neighborhoods of Hurstbourne and Seneca park where Wigand lived, and at DuPont Manual High School, where he worked after leaving Brown & Williamson.

Returning to Los Angeles briefly for interior work, the company then proceeded to Big Bear Lake, using the rustic location to double for Montana where Bergman tracked the Unabomber story. The winter scene, shot in July, required artificial snow. Snow Business, a British company, spent two days covering the northern Grout Bay corner of Big Bear Lake with 15 tons of 99% biodegradable cellulose.

The production moved on to Berkley, California to shoot at a location down the street from Lowell Bergman's home. On its last night in the Bay area, the company crossed to San Francisco to shoot a meeting.

The film returned to Louisville, then went to Pascagoula, Mississippi. Pascagoula is known as the Flagship City of the Mississippi Gulf for its shipbuilding, petrochemical industry, and seafood industry.

Looking at the movie set in the temporary courtroom in Pascagoula, where the deposition actually took place, Mississippi Attorney General Michael Moore was surprised by the attention to detail, both in the set and the depiction of courtroom activity. "There were about fifty or sixty tobacco lawyers piled up over there," he recalled, pointing to the far side of the room. "Some of them were actually smoking cigarettes, blowing smoke rings. They were the most arrogant bunch I've ever seen. But when we finally got the word that Jeffrey would give his deposition, I walked in and gave the signal. And all these guys went nuts."

Attorney General Moore appreciated director Mann's scope of knowledge on the issue and history of the case. When asked to play himself in the movie, Moore laughed, "I guess it does add a dose of reality. It was the most important thing I'll ever do as a lawyer, so I guess I saw it as a chance to have some fun and be a part of history again."

Insider Cast
l-r: Jeffrey Wigand, Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Lowell Bergman
Richard Scruggs also remembers reading for the director to play himself in the movie. "I auditioned with Michael Mann and Al Pacino, reading lines with them one day in Washington. After we did it, Michael Mann put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Dick, that was really a good job, but I think we're going to get a professional actor to play you." Scruggs volunteered to be an extra in the courtroom, becoming, in his words, "One of the guys that follows Dick Scruggs around." In addition, key scenes around Wigand's momentous decision to testify were recreated where they actually happened, at Scrugg's home on the Gulf.

The company traveled to Mobile, Alabama to double for a night scene in New Orleans where Lowell covers another story while taking Jeffrey's call about receiving a death threat. A reduced company moved on to a secluded island in the Bahamas to shoot Bergman's forced vacation from "60 Minutes," with a brief interruption to evacuate from the path of Hurricane Bonnie. The production then went to New York to shoot New York City exteriors and interior CBS offices. Finally, the company traveled to Israel, which doubled for Lebanon in the opening scenes of the movie.

More Information
The Insider was released on DVD on April 11, 2000 and is available from Amazon.com and other retailers. Further information can be found at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and Wikipedia.
insider movie poster
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