WHITE BOY RICK
Matthew McConaughey and co on the jaw-dropping true crime story.
“ found it fascinating, but I didn’t see a film in it,” says Yann Demange of the true-crime article that inspired White Boy Rick. “I wasn’t interested in that story. So I passed on acquiring the rights to the article, actually.” Not quite how you expect a director to start a conversation about the source material of their latest film.
It’s September 2018, and Total Film is meeting Demange in a grandiose boardroom (“It’s like The Hudsucker Proxy,” he laughs) in the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto. Demange and his cast are in town for the Toronto International Film Festival, and like the movie itself, the conversation moves in not-at-all-obvious directions. Perhaps unsurprising, given the true story – the headline account of it, anyway – falls into the stranger-than-fiction bracket.
In the ’80s, Detroit teen Richard Wershe Jr. (aka ‘White Boy Rick’, due to his outsider status in a predominantly black community) became embroiled with drug dealers as the youngest FBI informant ever, fathered a child, and started his own drug-dealing racket, all before turning 16. Not that it was ever quite as simple as the headlines,