Dopesick premiere: On the red carpet with Danny Strong, Will Poulter and Kaitlyn Dever at London Film Festival 2021
Dopesick is the new TV mini-series from Danny Strong that delves into the shocking story behind the US opioid crisis, partly inspired by the non-fiction book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy.
Through a number of parallel storylines, the show looks at the role of Purdue Pharma in the epidemic, and the Sackler family behind it, the individuals and communities caught up in cycles of drug abuse and addiction and the involvement of the DEA in attempts to bring those responsible to justice.
It stars an incredible ensemble of actors including Michael Keaton as Dr Samuel Finnix, Peter Sarsgaard as Rick Mountcastle, Will Poulter as Billy Cutler, Kaitlyn Dever as Betsy Mallum and Rosario Dawson as Bridget Meyer.
The Upcoming had the privilege of speaking to the series creator and two of his cast on the red carpet at the BFI London Film Festival 2021.
Poulter told us about his role as a sale rep for Purdue Pharma and explained a bit about the story the series tells: “It’s the story of how Purdue Pharma, while being micromanaged by one family, the Sacklers, managed to introduce a highly dangerous narcotic into the American drug market as a legitimate form of non-addictive pain relief. And they did that by way of lies and deception, bribery, fabricated data, self-funded studies and really, for the most part, they’ve caused a lot of devastation and are responsible for sparking the opioid epidemic, while effectively dodging criminal charges. And I think this show and a lot of great political work will hopefully go some way towards trying to make sure that they’re held accountable for what they did.” He also spoke about working with his fellow cast and preparing to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Dever (the breakout star of Booksmart) introduced her character, a coal miner who is prescribed and gets addicted to oxycontin, and told us what it meant to her to be involved in the project: “It’s a really powerful and informative story, and I’m really happy to be a part of it.”
The series creator shared how he first had the idea to focus on the opioid crisis, assembling his cast, including the inimitable Michael Keaton, and how he hopes it exposes the Sackler family who’ve yet to be held to account.
There’s also more from Strong about the series in an extended interview during the London Film Festival.
Videos: Filippo L’Astorina
Dopesick is released on Hulu on 13th October 2021.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Dopesick here: