Hulu has given a straight-to-series order to a new limited series called Dopesick, which stars Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton (Birdman) and is directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Levinson (Rain Man). The series will provide a multi-faceted look at the opioid crisis in America, and it marks the first time Keaton has starred in a TV series in thirteen years. Get more details about the show below.
Emmy Award-winning writer Danny Strong (Game Change, Empire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Parts 1 and 2) wrote Dopesick, which is an adaptation of the bestselling book by author Beth Macy. A press release describes the show as “an ambitious, harrowing, and compelling look into the epicenter of America’s struggle with Opioid addiction”:
[The series] takes viewers from a distressed Virginia mining community, to the hallways of the DEA, and to the opulence of “one percenter” Big Pharma Manhattan. The unsparing yet deeply human portraits of the various affected families and their intersecting stories hold up a mirror to where America is right now, while shining a hopeful light on the heroes battling the worst drug epidemic in American history.
Keaton plays Samuel Finnix, an old-school doctor who approaches his practice with kindness and compassion, but finds himself caught up in Big Pharma’s deadly secret. This is the first time the actor will lead a TV series since starring in 2007’s The Company, a three-episode miniseries about the CIA and the Cold War that aired on TNT. But that was in a completely different era of entertainment, before it became de rigueur for major movie stars to lead TV shows. He’s appeared on a few shows here and there since then – Saturday Night Live, Documentary Now!, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – but this is being presented as his big, splashy return to the small screen.
“I’m so thrilled to tell this story with a company as bold and as daring as Hulu,” writer Danny Strong said in a statement. “The opioid crisis is one of the most important stories of our time and I’m honored to not only pay tribute to its victims but to shine a light on the heroes that fought back. Laws were broken and many lies were told. The system failed us and Dopesick is going to show everyone how it all happened.”
It seems as if the world of pop culture is suddenly turning its eye toward the ongoing opioid crisis in this country. The Russo Brothers’ next movie, Cherry, stars Tom Holland as an opioid addict, and earlier this year, Netflix released a limited series called The Pharmacist, which provided a gripping first-hand look at what this crisis is doing to this nation’s citizens from the perspective of a pharmacist on the ground in Louisiana.
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