Kaitlyn Dever interview: ‘Dopesick’

Kaitlyn Dever was aware that there’s currently an opioid crisis in the country, but getting to act in “Dopesick” exposed her to the horrific nature of what went into creating it. “I wasn’t really aware of the injustice behind it all. I wasn’t aware of Purdue Pharma’s relentless pursuit in their tactics behind selling a drug that was clearly addictive as non-addictive,” she tells Gold Derby during our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video interview above). The visceral emotions she had to reading the script made her know she needed to be a part of this project. “I was angry, I was blown away, I was shocked and it was just an infuriating read.”

“Dopesick,” which streams on Hulu, is based on Beth Macy’s book and was developed for television by Emmy winner Danny Strong. The series details how Purdue Pharma developed OxyContin, marketed it as a non-addictive painkiller and aggressively pushed the drug on physicians across the country. At the same time a doctor in a Virginia mining town (Michael Keaton) experiences the devastating consequences of the drug, including on Betsy (Dever), a young mine worker. Dever has already scored nods at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice TV Awards for Movie/Limited Supporting Actress for her performance. She previous was nominated in the leading category at both of those events for her performance in “Unbelievable” in 2020.

Even though Betsy is more of a composite character created for the show, Dever still felt an incredible amount of pressure in taking on this role. Strong, in his role as creator and showrunner, helped to magnify that enthusiasm. “When I first met him, even on Zoom, for our first chat about the show, his passion and his drive is so infectious. He felt a huge responsibility.” Even with the role being as physically and emotionally draining as it was, Dever knew she had to put aside how she felt on some days because of the enormous responsibility the role entailed. “I had to forget about it because this character is so much bigger than me. To be a part of a story that means so much and is going to shed some real humanity on this crisis; that opportunity really doesn’t come around too often.”

One of the aspects of filming “Dopesick” that Dever really enjoyed was getting to spend time in Richmond, Virginia, where the series was being shot. While she loved the atmosphere of the city, along with getting to spend time with her sister there, she also very much appreciated why Strong wanted to shoot there. “Danny wanted to shoot where the crisis really started and I thought that was so important.” It ended up helping to make the cause of the project even more apparent. “It was one of those shows that you just show up to work and everybody involved was so excited to be there and so passionate about the story and that just feels really good.”

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UPLOADED Jul 12, 2022 5:00 pm