Dopesick stars Michael Keaton and Rosario Dawson interview

Michael keaton got the opportunity to show off his dramatic chops in 1988’s “Clean and Sober”, in which he gave a mind-blowing, award-winning performance as a successful real estate agent who descends the deep dark rabbit hole of drug addiction. cocaine And now, 33 years later, he’s returned to the heart-wrenching world of addiction in Hulu’s new limited series “Dopesick,” which began airing on October 13.

Based on the acclaimed non-fiction book, “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company That Addicted America” ​​by Beth macy, the series takes a look at the deadly opioid crisis that has killed more than 800,000 people since the 1990s, when the Sackler family’s company, Perdue Pharmacy, introduced the highly addictive pain reliever Oxycontin, which was advertised as a big deal. less addictive than other drugs. However, Purdue Pharma has asked its vendors and representatives of wine and restaurant doctors to prescribe the drug in higher doses and keep them on the pain reliever longer than necessary.

Keaton plays Dr Samuel Finnix, a doctor from a small town in Virginia, who prescribes the drug to his patients only to see them become addicted and even die from the drug. Rosario Dawson costars as a pragmatic DEA agent stubbornly determined to end the opioid nightmare. The Washington Post recently hosted a Zoom interview with Keaton, Dawson, and the Emmy-winning creator / writer. Strong danny (“Game change”).

All three were angry at a recent bankruptcy settlement involving Perdue Pharmacy, where the judge approved a plan granting the Sackler family immunity from any wrongdoing, whether criminal or ethical, after agreeing to contribute approximately $ 4.3 billion of their own money to the deal. They also gave up their participation in the company. In 2019, there were no family members on the board or in leadership positions. A division of the Ministry of Justice filed an appeal to block the decision.

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“I think my reaction to the bankruptcy settlement is almost like everyone else in the country, it is the disbelief that they have obtained immunity from any civil litigation in the future, the disbelief that this settlement has. will only be a drop in the bucket for them financially, ”Strong said. “It sounds like a huge settlement, but they have to pay it over nine years. Ultimately, that goes into everything I’ve felt for the Sacklers throughout my research on this crisis, that is, they still come out of it. He says the Sacklers’ enormous fortune is the reason. “It just shows how the ultra-rich are able to play with the system at the highest levels of the US government, the Department of Justice, Congress and the DEA. They are able to play with the system to the point of being able to sell this drug for as long as they have, lying about it. And then to have, in the end, no repercussions other than the public shame they suffered. “

“You have people languishing in jail right now because they had a joint in their pocket,” Dawson said. “The system is rigged against the poor, rigged against minorities, rigged against classes designed to continue to perpetuate a narrative that if you’re in trouble, you deserve it. And if you do, good for you. “‘Dopesick’,” she added, “returns to the narrative of blaming the victim and ostracizing and stigmatizing the addict and hopefully begins to build more humanity and an appreciation and a compassionate gaze. only on the faults of human beings. “

Keaton was shocked during production to see how “the criminal behavior was obvious, how the manipulation of everything was obvious. I’m glad, really, happy to be a part of it and bring it to consciousness. What I really like about this limited series is not just that it’s about something big, it plays a bit like a thriller and avoids being fair or judgmental. Speaking to medics, Keaton added, “I was always learning something when we were filming because, like I said before, it was so overt, the manipulation and the ingenuity of selling an addictive drug and to lie about it. I would often make a scene and talk to Danny or [executive producer] Barry levinson or someone else to say, I think it’s a little too obvious and not really believable. They would inevitably tell me or tell me something that was not verbatim, but just factual. It seemed impossible for that to happen.

Strong decided to dramatize the story by switching from fact to fiction, because in the course of his research he came across many different stories of the “journey of drug addiction”. They are so powerful, all these different tales. I thought if I had composite characters I could use more of these stories on the show instead of being confined by the actions of one person. In doing this, I felt like I could tap into a more universal truth. The more we could get into the show, the better to understand the totality of the opioid crisis. “

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