Here’s your guide on what you need to know about Netflix’s upcoming crime drama Pain Hustlers. From the cast, to when it will release.
Quick Links These past few years, Netflix has been one of the major distributors during awards season. With films like The Power of the Dog, Marriage Story, Mank, and more recently All Quiet on the Western Front, the streaming service has become the home to some of the most celebrated and daring filmmakers of our time. However, they have yet to clench the top prize in Hollywood: the Academy Award for Best Picture. This year Netflix has several titles that they are hoping can reap some Oscar gold including Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, the Colman Domingo-led film Rustin, and the satirical true-crime film, Pain Hustlers. This star-studded movie not only looks sure to provide entertainment but also to change hearts and minds with its timely, politically charged setting. For anybody wondering when, how, and where they can watch Pain Hustlers, you’ve come to the right place.
Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on October 10, 2023.
Pain Hustlers Director David Yates Cast Chris Evans, Emily Blunt, Chloe Coleman, Catherine O’Hara Main Genre Drama Genres Drama, Crime Is There a Release Date for ‘Pain Hustlers’? Pain Hustlers will be released in the US on Netflix on October 27. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2023. Collider’s Ross Bonaime was lukewarm on the film, giving it a C- and saying in his review:
We’ve had plenty of films that have stated that greed, for lack of a better word, is good, and Pain Hustlers—with its sights set on the pharmaceutical companies behind the opioid crisis—doesn’t add anything new to that conversation. Yates makes Pain Hustlers part-rowdy dramedy, part-half-assed takedown, and entirely an underwhelming film that attempts to make apparent and bland points.
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Will ‘Pain Hustlers’ Have a Theatrical Release Before it Hits Netflix? Yes, Pain Hustlers will have a limited theatrical release on October 20, 2023, one week before it premieres on Netflix. The film will open the same day as Martin Scorsese’s highly anticipated true-crime epic Killers of the Flower Moon.
Is There a Trailer for ‘Pain Hustlers’? A teaser trailer for Pain Hustlers was released on September 6, just a few days before its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The official trailer for Pain Hustlers was released by Netflix on October 10.
On January 18, 2023, the first pieces of footage were revealed alongside the release date during Netflix’s sizzle reel highlighting their 2023 film slate.
Who Stars in ‘Pain Hustlers’? Emily Blunt stars in the lead role as Liza Drake. Blunt first came to prominence in the United States for her role as Emily, a high-strung, fashion-obsessed assistant in The Devil Wears Prada alongside Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. She earned her first Golden Globe nomination and received her first lead actress nomination for The Young Victoria in which she played a young Queen Victoria. In the early 2010s, she began appearing in more action movies like Edge of Tomorrow and Looper. She received some of the best reviews of her career for her role in Sicario, where she played an FBI special agent put on special assignment to take down a drug cartel. She has worked on light and dark fare with musicals like Into the Woods and Mary Poppins Returns and horror films like A Quiet Place I & II. Most recently, Blunt has garnered some of the highest praises of her career with her role as Kitty Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan’s biographical epic Oppenheimer, and for starring as Cornelia Locke in the Prime Video miniseries The English.
Chris Evans stars alongside Blunt as Pete Brenner, a pharmaceutical sales rep, who ropes Liza into his shady world of drug racketeering. Evans has made a living starring in various different comic book films. He started his superhero career as the Human Torch in Fantastic Four and later became a worldwide superstar by portraying Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Evans has also starred in comic book films that depart drastically from the Marvel template like Scott Pilgrim vs the World and Snowpiercer. He received acclaim for his supporting role in Knives Out and his lead role in the Apple TV+ miniseries, Defending Jacob. Most recently Evans starred opposite Ana de Armas in the action-comedy Ghosted.
Andy García stars in the film as well, playing Liza and Pete’s boss Dr. Jack Neel. García made a name for himself in crime films like The Untouchables and The Godfather Part III for which he received his only Oscar nomination. He went on to receive critical acclaim in the TV film For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story, and the feature films Ocean’s Eleven and Kill the Messenger. García has appeared in several romantic comedies including Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Book Club, and Father of the Bride. This past year, García starred in two sequels, Book Club: The Next Chapter, where he reprised his role from the previous film, and Expend4bles.
Pain Hustlers also stars Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek) as Liza’s mother Jackie, Chloe Coleman (Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves) as Liza’s sick daughter Phoebe, Jay Duplass (The Chair) as Pete’s rival Brent Larkin, Brian d’Arcy James (Spotlight) as Dr. Nathan Lydell, Amit Shah (The Hundred-Foot Journey) as Paley, Aubrey Dollar (Filthy Rich) as Andy, and Willie Raysor (Harriet) as Matt Elliston.
What Is ‘Pain Hustlers’ About? Pain Hustlers will take place in the cut-throat and often amoral world of pharmaceuticals with early reports of the film comparing it to the Adam McKay film, The Big Short which took on Wall Street and exposed the ‘great’ financial minds of their wrongdoings. The film follows Liza Drake, a high school dropout who, after dreaming of a better life for her and her young daughter, lands a job with a failing pharmaceutical start-up in Central Florida. Liza’s skills and personality catapult her to success and the company enjoys newfound recognition, power, and financial security. But not everything is as it seems, and soon Liza finds herself at the center of a criminal conspiracy that could cost her job and others their life.
Pain Hustlers takes its inspiration from the nonfiction book of the same name by Evan Hughes in the New York Times Magazine in 2018. The article focused on the pharmaceutical company Insys which enjoyed a period of financial success on the backs of the opioid epidemic through a program that paid doctors lucrative “speaking fees” to encourage them to prescribe Subsys, a fentanyl-based pain medication, to their patients. In order to up their numbers, Insys hired attractive salespeople with little to no experience, usually women in their 20s and 30s, and also went after doctors who needed money for personal or professional reasons. While many of the salespeople were able to make six-figure salaries, patients grew addicted and Insys filed for bankruptcy in 2019.
The official synopsis for the film via Netflix reads:
Liza Drake (Emily Blunt) is a blue-collar single mom who has just lost her job and is at the end of her rope. A chance meeting with pharmaceutical sales rep Pete Brenner (Chris Evans) puts her on an upwards trajectory economically but dubious path ethically as she becomes entangled in a dangerous racketeering scheme. Dealing with her increasingly unhinged boss (Andy Garcia), the worsening medical condition of her daughter (Chloe Coleman), and a growing awareness of the devastation the company is causing forces Liza to examine her choices. Pain Hustlers is a sharp and revealing look at what some people do out of desperation and others do out of greed.
Who Is Making ‘Pain Hustlers’? The director of Pain Hustlers is David Yates. Yates first came to prominence for his short film Rank which told the story of a Scottish gang crossing town to confront a new arrival of Somali refugees. The short confronted issues of racism, xenophobia, and crime. The film went on to win the BAFTA Award for Best Short Film and continued to enjoy success directing for television. His greatest acclaim in TV came in 2003 with State of Play, a six-part thriller about the newspaper investigation into the death of a political researcher. After a few years in television, Yates landed the biggest film of his career, Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix. His direction was so acclaimed that he was invited back to shoot the last three films in the series. More recently, he has continued with the Harry Potter universe by directing the Fantastic Beasts series.
The writer of Pain Hustlers is Wells Tower. Though this is Tower’s first screenplay, he is hardly a novice writer. Tower’s short fiction has been featured in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, Vice, Harper’s Magazine, A Public Space, and many others. His first book of short stories, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, was published in 2009 and was received with critical acclaim. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times listed the book as one of the ten best books of 2009, and it was also a finalist for The Story Prize.
Yates produces the film alongside Lawrence Grey (The Laundromat), with Blunt, Mark Moran (Ambulance), Yvonne Walcott-Yates, Lewis Taylor (Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore), and Ben Everard (Yes Day) executive producing.