Kaitlyn Dever on Becoming a Face of Addiction in ‘Dopesick’

After months of jumping from one shoot to the next, Kaitlyn Dever finally got some downtime. “I felt adventurous, so I decided to sleep on a chair outside.”

She leaned back with her eyes closed, recreated the sleeping position, then blinked, opened her eyes, and smiled a little. “I saw three shooting stars.”

Daver recently returned home from filming No One Will Save You, an action thriller movie written and directed by Brian Duffield. “I was the only actor,” she explained. “It’s completely different.”

it says something The 25-year-old Dever has already amassed a long list of key roles in television and film, including her breakout part in the FX series Justified at the age of 12.

Currently, she’s winning her first Emmy Award for her role as Betsy Malam, a young woman addicted to opioids, in the Hulu miniseries ‘Dopesick’, led by Michael Keaton and created by Danny Strong.Mainly set in a fictional mining town in rural Virginia, “Dope Sick” depicts the beginning of the national opioid crisis and the ensuing investigation into Purdue Pharma. Purdue Pharma’s introduction of the offensive and misleading drug OxyContin is seen as the beginning of the epidemic.

The series has been widely acclaimed and has won 14 Emmy Awards, including one for Best Limited Series or Anthology Series. Dever was in her pajamas drinking coffee at her home when she learned she had been nominated. Knowing her announcement was imminent, Dever’s sister launched the Television Academy website.

“We were there looking at my picture and yelling, ‘What!?'”

They poured champagne into glasses.

As we talked, Dever occasionally tugged at his wavy brown hair. During conversations, she smiles easily, her face is very expressive, her eyes wide open and small when analyzing her questions. Her dramatic gestures enlivened her reactions.

Born in Phoenix, Dever and her family moved to Dallas after her father, who had previously been a figure skating coach with Dever’s mother, took on the voice role of Bernie the Purple Dinosaur. Dever took an early interest in acting himself when he entered an acting studio in Dallas at the age of nine. In 2007, her family moved to Los Angeles to help her continue her acting.

In 2019, she shared the screen with Beanie Feldstein in Olivia Wilde’s critically acclaimed coming-of-age film ‘Booksmart’ and starred in the award-winning mini-series ‘Unbelievable’ alongside Toni Collette and Merritt Webber. Nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

On “Dopesick,” Dever has the opportunity to fully express her dramatic vocal range. At the start of her series, Betsy is studious, with a moon-like face clear with pale, bright eyes, and Dever imbues her with her intellectual vigilance. It’s the mid-1990s, and Betsy is in love with another woman who works in a coal mine, but when she tries to come out to her parents, she faces silence and condemnation. (Mare Winningham is perfectly compelling and takes the nomination as Betsy’s desperate and determined mother.)

After suffering a serious back injury in a mining accident, Betsy calls doctor Samuel Phynix (a fictional amalgam) played by Keaton. Phoenix, like many real-life doctors of the time, has been misled into prescribing OxyContin without the risk of addiction. (Purdue later pleaded guilty to charges of criminally “misleading” its powerful drug OxyContin to make it look less addictive.)

To date, the epidemic has left millions addicted and killed more than 500,000 people nationwide. As such, Dever approached the role with utmost sensitivity.

“Because Betsy represents so many people affected by the crisis, I felt a strong sense of responsibility,” said Dever. So she created a spreadsheet to track Betsy’s withdrawals over the course of the season, tracking “where she was emotionally in each scene.”

“I put a lot of pressure on myself to get the role right,” she added. “I wanted to make sure it was as realistic and honest as possible.”

Deaver said the series had a “special place” in her heart, partly because many of the crew were from her hometown. Most of the show was filmed on location in towns around Virginia, an early site of the opioid crisis, and it was not uncommon for people to get up close to Dever and share how the crisis affected their lives. .

“It was a constant reminder of why we do what we do,” she said.

Deaver quickly realized that she hadn’t prepared herself for the part.

“Someone I met on set played a big part in the journey of bringing this character to life,” she said slowly. I no longer feel reluctance to do so.

“My friend has allowed me to understand how it affects someone on an emotional level.” She paused, then shook her head. “Addiction is not black and white and it affects people very differently.”

When I ask him about his future work, Dever leans forward on the couch. “I have a new movie with Karen Maine,” she said. He was also the screenwriter for Obvious Child, starring Jenny Slate. (Dieber plays Rosaline, Romeo’s heartbroken lover, in the retelling of “Romeo and Juliet.”)

“And then,” she said, sniffing and laughing loudly. “Excited to be going to the Emmy Awards for the first time!”

Deaver said she was fortunate to be cast in a variety of genres, from sharp comedies to heartbreaking dramas. wanted to preserve the character’s life story in every scene. She said her dramatic roles inform her romantic roles and vice versa.

“Every time I have the opportunity to expose myself to something new,” she said. “And I’m always learning more about myself and working with different parts of my brain.”

Each role broadens your base, I suggested. she nodded. “It’s the building block for what’s next.”

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