‘Dopesick’ Star Michael Keaton Hopes Series ‘Lets People’ About Opioid Epidemic

Michael Keaton faces a more formidable enemy than the Joker in the 1989 movie “Batman”.

Hulu’s “Dopesick” is an eight-episode limited series that depicts the rise and fall of the opioid epidemic, which has ravaged millions of Americans since a group of potent pain relievers became widely prescribed from the 1990s. The 20th Television and Littlefield Co. series is headlined by Keaton, who said he believed the series would enlighten viewers about the deadly epidemic.

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“I think people are more wired and smarter about it now, but I think they’re going to get even wiser,” Keaton said. Variety Monday at the “Dopesick” red carpet premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “I really think that will enlighten some people.”

Michael Keaton - Credit: Ben Hider / Hulu / PictureGroup

Michael Keaton – Credit: Ben Hider / Hulu / PictureGroup

Ben Hider / Hulu / PictureGroup

Keaton plays Samuel Finnix, an old-fashioned doctor from a small mining town in Virginia who begins prescribing OxyContin for pain relief for his patients.

“He’s a really decent human being and he’s been with you throughout the story,” Keaton said. “They put it on you, and as an actor you’re like ‘okay, I have big shoulders.'”

Much of Keaton’s screen time is shared with Will Poulter, who plays a Purdue salesman who convinces Dr. Finnix that OxyConton is essentially “non-addictive” by following the company’s emotional manipulative approach.

“There was a culture of deception, corruption and fraud running through Purdue,” Poulter said. “Playing a character who engages in all of this was actually disturbing but absolutely necessary if we are to tell the truth about what happened there.”

John Hoogenakker and Peter Sarsgaard describe federal prosecutors who set out to expose Purdue Pharma’s deceptive marketing of OxyContin. Sarsgaard, who attended the red carpet event with his wife, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, praised Hoogenakker and expressed interest in keeping their on-screen momentum alive in a comedy series.

“[John] is one of my favorite actors that I’ve played with, ”said Sarsgaard. “I think we are due for our own show. I think we need an ‘Odd Couple’ type show.

“Dopesick” personalizes the drug epidemic by highlighting five distinct scenarios, some of which take place at different times. Writer-director Danny Strong said this led him to abandon a traditional structure for a more ambitious structure.

“Dopesick” writer-director and executive producer Danny Strong spoke at Monday & # x002019; s world premiere at the Museum of Modern Art.  - Credit: Frank Micelotta / Hulu / PictureGroup

“Dopesick” writer-director and executive producer Danny Strong spoke at Monday’s premiere at the Museum of Modern Art. – Credit: Frank Micelotta / Hulu / PictureGroup

Frank Micelotta / Hulu / PictureGroup

“By recounting these storylines chronologically, I was unable to contact investigators until episode five,” Strong said. “I thought the investigation had to be the backbone of the story, so I thought it could be really dynamic going in and out of time and telling the story in a way almost like a puzzle.”

The Sackler family ran Purdue Pharma for more than a century before leaving the company amid a series of lawsuits related to the fraudulent marketing of OxyContin. While the family paid an estimated $ 4.5 billion in settlements, she was absolved of any jail time and remains one of the richest families in America. “If an individual is not put in jail, no one will ever feel it,” Sarsgaard said. “You take money from a business, something that is not a human. So no one suffers financially. I think they must be in pain the same way the guy throwing drugs around the corner would. “

The “Shattered Glass” actor then compared the situation to the conviction of Martha Stewart, who saw the TV personality serve five months in prison after being convicted of insider trading.

“Look, I think if we can put Martha Stewart in jail for something like what she did, which any man in New York who works in this industry has done, then we can put one of these people. in jail for throwing drugs, ”Sarsgaard mentioned.

“Dopesick” is scheduled to air October 13 on Hulu.

(Top pictured: Hulu / ABC Entertainment’s Craig Erwich, “Dopesick” star Peter Sarsgaard and his wife, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, and executive producers Warren Littlefield and Beth Macy.)

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