Jeremy Renner says cutting scenes is as close to “losing a limb” as you get.

The actor stars in Michael Cuesta’s thriller Kill the Messenger. The tale is based on the true story of investigative journalist Gary Webb, who is credited with exposing the CIA’s role in arming rebels in Nicaragua who helped to import cocaine into the US.

Jeremy, who also produced the film, acknowledged additional scenes were filmed depicting Gary’s family life that didn’t make the final cut. And leaving them out was tough to do.

“I’m not a fan of cutting anything,” he told Collider. “I don’t think any directors or anyone on the artistic side of the moviemaking process wants to lose anything. It’s losing a limb. You lose that scene - ah there goes my foot!” he mused.

Ultimately, some things had to go. And while the star isn’t always happy about sacrificing pieces of the story, he always strives to do it for the greater good.

“…It never feels good but as long as it serves the greater story of - especially a movie like this where it’s a couple stories really. It’s a story of a journalist and his plight and then also as a man and a husband and how those things blurred and how one affected the other,” he explained.

Jeremy also felt passionately that Gary’s story needed to be told. The journalist, a writer for the San Jose Mercury News, was ultimately driven to suicide in 2004 after he was alienated for making claims of a government conspiracy, which were later given credence by the mainstream media.

“It’s something that did happen. It affected a lot of people… it’s David & Goliath,” Jeremy said. “It’s an underdog story.”

Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia, Tim Blake Nelson, Robert Patrick, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Paz Vega co-star in the film.

Kill the Messenger is scheduled to hit US cinemas Friday.