'Dopesick' cast discusses how show examines 'heartbreaking' history of painkillers

Star and executive producer Michael Keaton calls the limited series "heartbreaking" and says it will "make you angry."

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021
'Dopesick' cast discusses 'heartbreaking' history of painkillers
The cast of Hulu's "Dopesick" talks to On The Red Carpet about the limited series.

Hulu's new series "Dopesick" recounts the heartbreaking history of painkillers and how one company triggered the worst drug epidemic in American history.

Taking place between 1996 and 2007, the eight-episode series follows the U.S. attorneys' investigation of Purdue Pharma, the company that introduced OxyContin and mislabeled it as a nonaddictive drug. It also explores how big of a role the Sackler family, who owned and ran the company, had to play in getting America hooked on the drug so they could turn a billion-dollar profit.

"How could you not be angry at something as large as Big Pharma -- and in this case, we got to say, the Sackler family? And people who, most of them are what we could categorize as the "have-nots"...they're the victims. How do you not get angry?" star and executive producer Michael Keaton (Dr. Samuel Finnix) said.

The show examines the opioid crisis through several different lenses -- from the boardrooms of Big Pharma, to a distressed mining community in Virginia, to the hallways of the DEA.

"I don't think this story could be told effectively in any other way. I think that are so many elements to this issue and it's so important to flesh out each one," Peter Sarsgaard (Rick Mountcastle) said, adding that the show is "riveting entertainment."

Watch the trailer for Hulu's "Dopesick"

Watch the new trailer for Hulu's "Dopesick," a limited series chronicling the opioid epidemic in America.

"It was probably one of the harder things I've had to do," said Kaitlyn Dever, who plays Betsy Mallum, a coal miner who becomes addicted to OxyContin. "It was very, very important that I was doing it right and that I was playing those emotions correctly."

The cast hopes that the show will peel back the curtain on the manipulative tactics that were at play and inspire audiences to be more empathetic toward the victims of the opioid crisis.

"I think that this show asks a really great question, which is: Why are we in so much pain? Why? And what does pain look like for different people?" Phillipa Soo said.

The series, written and executive produced by Danny Strong, also stars Michael Stuhlbarg, Will Poulter, John Hoogenakker, Rosario Dawson and Jake McDorman.

The first three episodes of "Dopesick" premiere Oct. 13, with new episodes releasing Wednesdays on Hulu.

Star and executive producer Michael Keaton calls the limited series "heartbreaking" and says it will "make you angry."

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of Hulu and this ABC station.