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Michael Keaton to Star in Opioid Crisis Drama ‘Dopesick’ at Hulu

Barry Levinson to direct the series written by Danny Strong

Hulu has given a straight-to-series order to an adaptation of Beth Macy’s “Dopesick,” with Michael Keaton set to star, the streamer announced Tuesday.

Published in 2018, Macy’s “Dopesick” explores the U.S. opioid crisis by interlacing stories of young addicts and struggling communities with stories of dealers, doctors and pharmaceutical companies responsible for the drug epidemic.

Hulu’s adaptation, written by “Empire’s” Danny Strong,” is described as “an ambitious, harrowing, and compelling look into the epicenter of America’s struggle with Opioid addiction, tak[ing] viewers from a distressed Virginia mining community, to the hallways of the DEA, and to the opulence of ‘one percenter’ Big Pharma Manhattan.”

Keaton will star in the series as Samuel Finnix, an old-school doctor who approaches his practice with kindness and compassion but finds himself embroiled in Big Pharma’s deadly secret.

“I’m so thrilled to tell this story with a company as bold and as daring as Hulu,” said Strong 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.”

Barry Levinson is director on the drama, which hails from Fox 21 Television Studios and Warren Littlefield’s The Littlefield Company. Executive producers on the series include Keaton, Strong, John Goldwyn, Levinson, Littlefield, Macy and Karen Rosenfelt.

“The minute we met with Danny Strong about Beth Macy’s bestselling book, we immediately knew it was the kind of groundbreaking series we just had to bring to Hulu. Danny’s unflinching and deeply compelling take on America’s opioid crisis will bring to life one of the most important stories impacting our culture,” said Craig Erwich, senior vice president of originals at Hulu. “Add to that the cinematic vision of Barry Levinson and the extraordinary talent of Michael Keaton, and we’ve got an undeniable series that perfectly embodies our Hulu Originals brand,”

Added Fox 21 president Bert Salke, “Although we were sharply aware of and empathetic to the horrifying pain caused by the Opioid crisis for millions in this country, we were blown away when Warren Littlefield showed us Beth Macy’s book Dopesick. Consequently, Danny Strong had been crafting his own telling of the opiate epidemic and in typical Danny form, it was mesmerizing. The fact that Warren and Danny are collaborating on this is a studio’s dream. Together with Barry Levinson and Michael Keaton, we have every reason to believe this important story will be one of the tv events of the coming year.”