White Boy Rick starring legendary Matthew McConaughey and newcomer Richie Merritt, is a film based on a true story about Richard Wershe Jr., the youngest FBI informant in history. The movie follows a 14-year-old boy who through the FBI becomes a drug dealer and eventually a kingpin all before reaching the age of 16.
McConaughey, the Oscar award-winning actor with decades of experience in the industry says it wasn’t hard to sign on to the film.
“Great role, great story, great director I wanted to work with, that’s the three things I look at. It’s the kind of movie I want to see first if I have a choice of 20.” It was the story that resonated with him the most. “This guy loses over and over…it scared me in the right way, plus it made me feel like it was something I needed to go do. I know Dads like this, there are fathers in poverty like this all over.”
15-year-old Richie Merritt is making his film debut, “This is my first job.” The role of Rick is not too foreign for Richie as he has a very similar background. “Me and Rick really do have similarities. His Mom left and my Mom left and we kind of grew up on the same streets.”
However, Bel Powley, the UK actress recognized for “Diary of a Teenage Girl” had to go through a much bigger transformation to play Rick’s crack addict sister Dawn Wershe. “It was crazy I think it’s a difficult thing to do, play a drug addict. Because some actors get it wrong. So I was actually a bit nervous to get into that. I actually watched a lot of YouTube videos of people smoking crack.”
So far the film has gotten good reviews and the actors have received positive praise for their performances. Audiences walk away stunned that this tragic story really happened decades ago. Writer Andy Weiss says he made the script as realistic as possible. “I am open to debate anyone, any critic with what is true and what is not in this film because it is a very true story.”
White Boy Rick opens in theaters September 14th.