Pain Hustlers (L-R) Chris Evans as Brenner, Andy Garcia as Neel, and Emily Blunt as Liza in 'Pain Hustlers.'

David Yates on Bringing the Style of ‘Pain Hustlers’ to the Film

The film Pain Hustlers takes us into the beginning of the opioid crisis and the big pharma pushing it. Talking with Colleen Atwood about the look of the film, it was only enhanced by David Yates’ direction. The film focuses on Liza Drake (Emily Blunt) as she is desperate to make money for her and her daughter. When she meets Pete (Chris Evans) and he promises her money and all her dreams by joining his company, she does whatever it takes.

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Split between talking head interviews from the future and a look into what happened, the movie really nails that feel of a documentary of what these people went through and so when I spoke with Yates and producer Lawrence Grey, I asked them about making sure they kept the balance of the story with the talking heads from the future. “We followed the sort of arc of it through, because primarily even more than the history of the opioid crisis, we were more intrigued by the sort of moral journey of Liza Drake,” Yates said. “So her journey and, which to us had a universal quality to it. So often we say, ‘oh, this is a story about the opioid crisis.’ It could be set in any industry. It just so happens that this section of the pharma industry was very sort of fast and loose with the rules. It could be in the banking sector, it could be in the media sector, we wanted to tell a story of a parable about the American dream and what happens when rules are soft and you break those rules and in so doing, you start to hurt people. And what does that do to you as a human being and what are the consequences of that. So rather than being so sort of fastidious about where we are in the opioid crisis, it was really about that universal story, that fable of Liza Drake, the broken American dream that I think excited us as much as all the opioid detail, which is quite interesting, but it’s really about the story of Liza Drake.”

You can see our full chat here:

Pain Hustlers is on Netflix now.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.