The last time Michael Keaton had a semi-regular TV role was for the TNT miniseries The Company back in 2007, which was headed up by current NCIS: Los Angeles star Chris O'Donnell. Since then, he's made some appearances on SNL, 30 Rock, Documentary Now! and a few other shows, but now Keaton has signed on for his first major leading TV role since 1982's short-lived Report to Murphy. What's more, he's heading to Hulu for it.
Michael Keaton has signed on to star in the new limited series Dopesick, which is set for a 2021 premiere. The project received a straight-to-series order from Hulu, without the need for a prolonged development cycle. Keaton definitely isn't the only big name involved, either, as the opioid-centered Dopesick will be directed by Rain Man and Wag the Dog director Barry Levinson, who has made a name for himself in recent years helming hard-hitting TV movie biopics such as Paterno and The Wizard of Lies.
Based on the Beth Macy bestelling book of the same name, Dopesick is an all-encompassing look at the opioid crisis that has taken over the U.S. in recent decades. The book offers a deep dive into the drug-related struggle, taking its story into the inner workings of the DEA, the pharmaceutical companies in New York City, a Virginia mining town and more. With tales that are as undeniably human as they are unsettling, Dopesick peels back the curtain on one of America's lesser-discussed plagues, while still keeping the faith that this is only a limited-time blight on the face of the country.
Within Dopesick, Michael Keaton will play "an old-school doctor" (per the press release) named Samuel Finnix. His signature style is to handle patients with kindness and sympathy, but he soon gets wrapped up in the controversies tied to Big Pharma and the proliferation of opioid prescriptions making up the worst drug epidemic that the U.S. has ever faced. Keaton will also be an executive producer on the project.
Dopesick is being written by the Emmy-winning Danny Strong, who most notably co-created Fox's Empire. Strong is clearly no stranger to gripping TV, and he won his Emmys for the 2012 TV movie Game Change, and was nominated for penning the election-based 2009 TV movie Recount, both from HBO. This project definitely seems like it would have been right up HBO's alley, so it's almost surprising that Hulu ended up with it.
Craig Erwich, the Senior Vice President of Originals at Hulu, had these excited words to say about landing this gripping project.
The minute we met with Danny Strong about Beth Macy’s bestselling book, we immediately knew it was the kind of groundbreaking series we just had to bring to Hulu. Danny’s unflinching and deeply compelling take on America’s opioid crisis will bring to life one of the most important stories impacting our culture. Add to that the cinematic vision of Barry Levinson and the extraordinary talent of Michael Keaton, and we’ve got an undeniable series that perfectly embodies our Hulu Originals brand.
Hulu has had a decent year so far in 2020, having released critic-friendly dramas such as The Great, Little Fires Everywhere and Normal People, with noteworthy future releases that include Kate McKinnon's The Dropout and Nicole Kidman's Nine Perfect Strangers, with the latter bringing former Mike and Molly star Melissa McCarthy back to TV. Viewers are no doubt also hoping to hear about a second season of The Act, as well as the fourth season of arguably Hulu's biggest hit, The Handmaid's Tale.
Michael Keaton has quite a few big projects on the way, with his next feature being Aaron Sorkin's star-studded crime drama The Trial of the Chicago 7. He'll also be in the upcoming Spider-Man spinoff Morbius, with Jared Leto playing the titular vampire, though it's not yet clear if Keaton will be reprising his Vulture role or not. Keaton, who was reportedly asked to star in The Witcher, also has the crime drama The Asset coming, for which he starred opposite fellow Marvel star Samuel L. Jackson.
While waiting to hear when Dopesick will make it to Hulu subscribers, be sure to check out our Summer 2020 TV premiere schedule to see all the new and returning shows that are popping up soon.