“We wanted it to be crazy and anarchic”: Harry Potter Director’s Approach to Real-Life ‘Pain Hustlers’ Crisis Becomes Another Stain on Chris Evans’ Post-MCU Career

David Yates was so intrigued by the real-life story of 'Pain Hustlers'.

Harry Potter Director’s Approach to Real-Life ‘Pain Hustlers’ Crisis Becomes Another Stain on Chris Evans’ Post-MCU Career


  • David Yates revealed what compelled him to bring the story of Pain Hustlers to the screen.
  • He said he was fascinated by the pharmaceutical industry and the salespeople who work in it.
  • The director created a fictional character to make the narrative engaging to the viewers.
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Netflix recently brought another pharmaceutical-inspired drama into its library with Chris Evans and Emily Blunt’s Pain Hustlers, a dark comedy that will definitely keep its viewers hooked from start to finish. It premiered last month at the Toronto International Film Festival, but it is now available to watch on the platform.

emily blunt and chris evans pain hustlers
Emily Blunt and Chris Evans in Pain Hustlers

There are definitely a lot of questions brewing in the minds of viewers as to the plot of the film because, first and foremost, it is about a small company promoting fentanyl addiction. Secondly, it is based on a true-to-life story.

RELATED“I’m so sorry for any hurt caused”: Emily Blunt Apologizes for ‘Fatphobic’ Comment After Fans Shred Pain Hustlers Star for Decade Old Interview 


Netflix’s Pain Hustlers Bring Chris Evans And Emily Blunt Together

The idea came from a 2018 article by Evan Hughes for the New York Times Magazine about a company called Insys. It was founded by billionaire John Kapoor, who promoted the opioid product Subsys. It is usually given as a strong medication to treat cancer pain. The drug was a generic one, but Insys used a spray delivery system to make it look like a premium product.

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Netflix’s Pain Hustlers

Kapoor’s business became a success as he got doctors to recommend this unnecessary medication to helpless patients. He was later sentenced to imprisonment.

That was the basis for David YatesPain Hustlers. He got intrigued by its story of corruption within the medical industry so he went to develop it into a small screen narrative. In his interview with Time:


We always felt we wanted it to be as subversive and as naughty and as different as we could compared to those. Primarily we wanted to bring an audience into the issues and the opioid crisis overall. We wanted it to be crazy and anarchic and fun… By the end of the story, we wanted it to have a real heft emotionally.”

chris evans pain hustlers
Chris Evans in Pain Hustlers

The movie is set in Florida, but in reality, the sales reps for Insys are spread all over the United States, and they perform in a much bigger operation. It focuses on Emily Blunt’s character, Liza Drake, a single mother who ends up working in the corporation. Yates described Blunt’s character:

It was made up of young people who were often in over their head and they were hungry for success, and a lot of that is embodied in her.”

Meanwhile, Chris Evans’ character Pete Brenner meets Liza Drake at a strip club at the time she was about to lose her job.

RELATED: Chris Evans Proves Quentin Tarantino Right as ‘Pain Hustlers’ Becomes Actor’s Another Critical Flop Despite Starring Emily Blunt


David Yates Shares His Approach To Making Pain Hustlers

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Netflix’s Pain Hustlers

In his interview with Entertainment Weekly, David Yates revealed what made him want to tackle this issue in the pharmaceutical industry. He stated:

I’ve always been fascinated by salespeople and what they do and the moral side of the pharma industry when they’re hustling to make money.”

He noted that many parts of the movie remain faithful to what the original article stated, and he only added Liza Drake to create a connection with the audience:

Elements of the story are obviously consistent to what Evan Hughes documented in his book, but we created Liza Drake, we created the relationship she has with her daughter, Phoebe, just as a way of allowing the audience to connect with a single character and carry us through the story.”

He remarked that the movie is not the entire Insys narrative in detail. It was only inspired by the controversy to bring awareness to the people.


RELATED: “I have learnt my lesson!”: Emily Blunt Was Petrified After Finding Jack Nicholson Staring at Her, Claimed She Even Forgot Her “Bloody Name”


Written by Ariane Cruz

Articles Published: 1904

Ariane Cruz, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.