EXCLUSIVE: Studio 8/Sony’s crime drama White Boy Rick, the story about Richard Wershe Jr., who at the age of 14 became an undercover informant for local and federal law enforcement agencies during the 1980s and then established himself as a major drug dealer, is moving from January 26 to August 17 next year.
On its new date, White Boy Rick will compete against Focus Features’ Rupert Wyatt sci-fi title Captive State, Warner Bros/SK Global’s Crazy Rich Asians and STXfilms’ The Happytime Murders. White Boy Rick leaves behind 20th Century Fox’s Maze Runner: The Death Cure as the only wide release January 26.
Deadline heard via non-studio sources that White Boy Rick recently tested quite high in the 90s, with director Yann Demange given the go-ahead to add extra scenes. We hear the movie is quite a thrill ride.
Deadline reported exclusively two years ago that Studio 8 acquired the spec script inspired by White Boy Rick’s life. The teenager’s dual life 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 jail for life, but ethical questions remain as how much the feds were involved in putting him deeper into his life of drugs.
Young discovery Richie Merritt, a 15-year old from Baltimore, scored the title role after a global talent search and stars alongside Matthew McConaughey as White Boy Rick’s father, Bruce Dern as his grandfather, and Piper Laurie as his grandmother. Bel Powley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry and Rory Cochrane also star.
White Boy Rick was scripted by Logan and Noah Miller, Andy Weiss, Steve Kloves and Scott Silver. Darren Aronofsky and Scott Franklin’s Protozoa Pictures are producing with John Lesher (Birdman, Black Mass) as well as Julie Yorn of LBI Entertainment, where Lesher is now based and which has a first-look deal with Studio 8. Jon Silk brought White Boy Rick into Studio 8 and is overseeing the project.