Pain Hustlers Director Explains Emily Blunt’s Character & Its Inspirations

David Yates, the director of Pain Hustlers, breaks down the character of Liza Drake (Emily Blunt) in the film and reveals if she is inspired by a real person.

The Netflix original crime drama film tells the story of a high school dropout, Liza Drake, who takes up a job at a bankrupt pharmaceutical company. But soon, she finds herself involved in a criminal conspiracy. Chris Evans, Chloe Coleman, Catherine O’Hara and Jay Duplass also star alongside Blunt in the film.

Is Liza Drake in Pain Hustlers inspired by a real person?
Chris Evans and Emily Blunt in Pain Hustlers | Source: IMDb

In an interview with Forbes, director David Yates explains that several real-life personalities inspired the central character of Liza in Pain Hustlers. The team drew inspiration from the characters in the Insys story, a real-life incident that inspired the film. Blunt’s Liza was an amalgamation of many personalities, but finally their own creation. Read the statement here:

“There were various characters in this story, men and women, who all fed into Liza. She’s a composite of many different personalities and also partly our own creation as well. We wanted this woman who was ambitious, and idealistic, and perhaps a little bit naive, and who had not always been recognized for the ability that she had, because of her background, her sort of low-income status, her lack of education. So there were lots of things that we created or added to Liza, that we all felt a connection to, in some shape or form, and we also cherry-picked a few qualities in some of the characters of the Insys story. But yeah, she is ultimately our creation, Wells’ [Tower, the screenwriter] creation, I should say, at the end of the day.”

Pain Hustlers is adapted from the 2022 book The Hard Sell: Crime and Punishment at an Opioid Startup by Evan Hughes. The book deals with the real-life story of a pharmaceutical start-up called Insys Therapeutics. The company enjoyed a boom in success before it was revealed that its owners were involved in criminal schemes, including dealing with drugs and bribing doctors.

Is Liza Drake in Pain Hustlers inspired by a real person?
Emily Blunt in Pain Hustlers | Source: IMDb

The film is an original take on the Isys incident, but Liza is a fictional character. Pain Hustlers is now streaming worldwide on Netflix.

Watch Pain Hustlers on:

About Pain Hustlers

Pain Hustlers is a 2023 American crime drama film directed by David Yates from a screenplay by Wells Tower. It is based on the 2022 book of the same name by Evan Hughes. The film stars Emily Blunt, Chris Evans, Andy García, Catherine O’Hara, Jay Duplass, Brian d’Arcy James, and Chloe Coleman.

Its plot centers on a high school dropout who lands a job with a failing pharmaceutical company in Central Florida, where she soon finds herself at the center of a criminal conspiracy.

Pain Hustlers was released in select theaters in the United States on October 20, 2023, before its streaming debut by Netflix on October 27, 2023. The film received mixed reviews from critics.


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