It might not be a new idea, but the morally (and sometimes legally) dubious slinging of pain medication (specifically how it was pushed on doctors and sold to consumers) has become something of a favorite topic for film and TV creators in the last few years.
With the current wave of movies, shows and documentaries pretty much kicked off by ‘Dopesick’ in 2021 (which went on to win awards and draw praise), we’ve had a variety of takes on the concept, each tackling a slightly different angle.
Netflix’s ‘Pain Hustlers’ chooses to cut the drama with some dark comedy and has some big names in front of the camera –– Chris Evans (no stranger to the streaming service after ‘The Gray Man’) and Emily Blunt, to be exact –– and David Yates, more known for guiding Daniel Radcliffe and co. through the latter stages of the massive ‘Harry Potter’ movie franchise.
What’s the story of ‘Pain Hustlers’?
Liza Drake (Blunt) is a blue-collar single mom who has just lost her job and is at the end of her rope. A chance meeting with pharmaceutical sales rep Pete Brenner (Evans) puts her on an upwards trajectory economically but dubious path ethically as she becomes entangled in a dangerous racketeering scheme via from a failing pharmaceutical start-up in a yellowing strip mall in Central Florida.
Dealing with her increasingly unhinged boss (Andy Garcia), the worsening medical condition of her daughter (Chloe Coleman), and a growing awareness of the devastation the company is causing forces Liza to examine her choices.
Who else is in ‘Pain Hustlers’?
The cast for the movie also includes Catherine O’Hara, Jay Duplass, Aubrey Dollar, Adrian Eppley, Britt Rentschler, Selena Anduze and Brian d’Arcy James.
Wells Tower adapted the script from Evan Hughes’ 2018 article published in The New York Times Magazine and the subsequent book ‘Pain Hustlers: Crime and Punishment at an Opioid Startup’. Produced independently, the movie was snapped up for distribution by Netflix at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Related Article: Chris Evans Talks Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’
David Yates talks ‘Pain Hustlers’
Director Yates admitted to Entertainment Weekly that the more naturalistic comedy drama was perfect for him after years of working in the Wizarding World.
Here’s what he said:
“I spent such a long time on green-screen studios creating these massive environments and these crazy creatures. So, it was really going back to my roots. It’s going way back. There wasn’t a visual effect in sight in those television series. So, the beauty of ‘Pain Hustlers’ for me was to come back to those roots, to come back to where the most exciting thing in a scene is an authentic moment between two actors rather than a big special effect. It was a welcome return to doing things that I’d done a lot of previous to entering the ‘Harry Potter’ world.”
Not wanting to waste that star power, Netflix will release the movie in select theaters on October 20th ahead of its arrival on the company’s servers on October 27th.
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