CULVER CITY, Calif., March 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Principal photography has begun on the Studio 8 drama, "White Boy Rick", which is being produced by LBI Entertainment and Protozoa Pictures. Based on true events, "White Boy Rick" is set in 1980s Detroit at the height of the crack epidemic and the War on Drugs, and tells the moving story of a blue-collar father and his teenage son, who became an undercover informant and later a drug dealer, before he was dropped by his handlers and sentenced to life in prison.
The film stars newcomer Richie Merritt as Ricky Wershe Jr., and Oscar® winner Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club," "The Dark Tower") as Ricky's father, Richard Wershe Sr.
15-year-old Richie Merritt was discovered in Baltimore during an extensive nationwide talent search. Hailing from a similar socioeconomic background as Wershe, Merritt's natural talent, charisma and authenticity impressed the filmmakers, as well as his chemistry with Matthew McConaughey who plays his father.
The film also features Oscar® nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh ("Hateful Eight") and Rory Cochrane ("Black Mass") as the FBI agents who begin working with Rick as a confidential informant, and Brian Tyree Henry (FX's "Atlanta") as narcotics detective Officer Jackson; two-time Oscar® nominee Bruce Dern ("Nebraska," "The Hateful Eight") as Rick's grandfather, Ray Wershe; three-time Oscar® nominee Piper Laurie ("Carrie," "Children of a Lesser God") as Rick's grandmother, Verna Wershe; BAFTA nominee Bel Powley ("Diary of a Teenage Girl") as Rick's sister, Dawn; Jonathan Majors ("Hostiles") as Johnny Curry; Rapper YG ("Blame It on the Streets") as Leo Curry; RJ Cyler ("Me and Earl and the Dying Girl") as Rudell Curry; Taylour Paige (VH1's "Hit the Floor") as Cathy Volsan; and Kyanna Simone Simpson ("Fist Fight") as Brenda.
"White Boy Rick" is directed by Yann Demange ("'71"), from an original screenplay by Logan & Noah Miller with revisions by writers Andy Weiss, Scott Silver, and Steve Kloves. The film is being produced by John Lesher ("Birdman," "Black Mass"), Julie Yorn ("Hell or High Water," "The Other Woman"), Darren Aronofsky ("Jackie," "Noah") and Scott Franklin ("Jackie," "Black Swan"). Executive producers are Georgia Kacandes, Ari Handel, Matthew Krul, Christopher Mallick, Michael J. Weiss, Logan Miller and Noah Miller.
Born in Paris and raised in London, Demange made his directorial film debut in 2014 with the critically acclaimed drama "'71" starring Jack O'Connell, which followed a young British soldier who is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971. The film was nominated for a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut and earned Demange the British Independent Film Award for Best Director.
The behind the scenes team includes director of photography Tat Radcliffe ("'71," "Pride"), production designer Stefania Cella ("Black Mass," "Downsizing"), costume designer Amy Westcott ("Nightcrawler," "Black Swan"), and editor Chris Wyatt ("'71," "This is England").
"White Boy Rick" will film primarily on location in Cleveland through early June with a couple of days in Detroit and Las Vegas. The film is scheduled for release through Sony Pictures on January 12, 2018.
ABOUT STUDIO 8
Studio 8 is a filmmaker driven company focused on building longstanding relationships with filmmakers in order to develop, produce and acquire both potential tentpoles and prestige pictures. Studio 8 is funded in partnership with the Chinese investment management firm Fosun Group and with Sony Pictures Entertainment. Studio 8 has secured $1 billion in financing. The company's initial film project is SOLUTREAN, currently in post-production.
ABOUT SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.
SOURCE Sony Pictures Entertainment