EXCLUSIVE: Studio 8 and producers John Lesher and Scott Franklin are compiling one heck of an ensemble cast for their feature drama White Boy Rick. Bruce Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Rory Cochrane have just joined Matthew McConaughey in the film being directed by Yann Demange. The film reunites Dern and Leigh who worked together on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
White Boy Rick is about Richard Wershe Jr., who in mid-1980s Detroit at the age of only 14 became an undercover informant for local and federal law enforcement agencies and then established himself as a major drug dealer. The dual life he led eventually put him into the cross-hairs of the feds when he was found with 17 pounds of cocaine (at only 17 years of age). He was put in prison for life, but ethical questions remain as how much the feds were involved in putting him deeper into drugs in the first place.
The true story follows the blue-collar father (McConaughey) and teenage son during the time the kid became a confidential informant, to drug dealer, to being abandoned by the FBI and sentenced to life in prison.
Dern will portray Wershe Jr.’s grandfather, while Leigh and Cochrane will portray FBI agents who began working with Wershe as a confidential informant from the beginning.
Lesher (Birdman, Black Mass) is producing as is Julie Yorn of LBI Entertainment, where Lesher is now based and which has a first-look deal with Studio 8. Also producing are Studio 8, Protozoa Pictures’ Darren Aronofsky and Franklin. Jon Silk brought White Boy Rick into Studio 8 and is overseeing the project.
Dern, twice nominated for an Oscar for Nebraska and Coming Home and in the films Chappaquiddick and American Violence, is repped by Innovative Artists and manager Pure Arts. Leigh, nominated for an Oscar for her role in Hateful Eight, is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment. Cochrane who was in Lesher’s Black Mass and in Ben Affleck’s Argo, just completed The Most Hated Woman In America. He is repped by Untitled, too.