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Bel Powley, the star of 2015’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl, has joined Matthew McConaughey in White Boy Rick, Studio 8’s true-life tale of a teen’s transformation from drug informant to kingpin.
Yann Demange, the British filmmaker behind ’71, is directing the movie, which is heading for a March start in Detroit.
McConaughey is leading an ensemble cast that includes Bruce Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Rory Cochrane.
White Boy Rick tells the story of Richard Wershe Jr., who, at 14, became an undercover informant for law enforcement in the 1980s. But he grew to become a major drug dealer until he was arrested at age 17 and charged with possession of 17 pounds of cocaine. The film is less a crime tale, however, than a father-son story set against the backdrop of American poverty.
The actor who will play Wershe has yet to be cast, but McConaughey will portray the boy’s constantly broke father. Cochrane and Leigh will play the boy’s handlers. Powley has been cast as Wershe’s sister.
Scott Franklin and John Lesher are producing the drama, along with Julie Yorn and Darren Aronofsky.
Powley made a splash in Marielle Heller’s Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015), for which she earned a Gotham Award for best actress and also received Indie Spirit Award and BAFTA Award nominations.
Since then, Powley has landed roles in such indies as the upcoming A Storm in Our Stars, Wildling and Ashes in the Snow, and also is attached to star opposite Ed Helms and Jack Huston in the drama Stand By. Next up she stars in Carrie Pilby, a drama which also has Nathan Lane and Gabriel Byrne in the cast, and that will open March 31.
The actress is repped by UTA, Authentic and the U.K.’s Curtis Brown.
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