by Julie Hinds (Detroit Free Press)
There is plenty of drama and family turmoil in “White Boy Rick,” the new movie about Richard Wershe Jr.’s teenage years in Detroit as an FBI informant and drug dealer.
Some of that tension was echoed in real life after the red-carpet screening in Wershe’s hometown of Detroit for guests and contest winners.
Two of the real-life people who are major characters in the film came to the event. Wershe’s sister Dawn Scott and ex-convict Johnny Curry were there to see the movie for the first time.
Scott’s character, played by actress Bel Powley, is shown onscreen struggling with a drug problem. Curry’s character, portrayed by actor Jonathan Majors, is a drug boss who mentors Wershe, then grows suspicious of him and orders his death.
The real Scott and Curry posed for photos with each other and “White Boy Rick” director Yann Demange before the screening.
It was after the movie ended that emotions ran high.
In the middle of a question-and-answer session featuring the film’sdirector Yann Demange, Scott became vocal after being approached by someone from the film’s event team.
“I am Rick’s sister. How dare you have your people come to me and ask me to be quiet!” she said loudly.
Scott expressed anger at not being contacted about the project. “You have not acknowledged me from day one,” she said to Demange.
Thomas tried to regain control of the discussion for several minutes, until eventually Scott moved to the lobby. She was followed by members of her party and several filmgoers who voiced agreement with her complaints.
Curry, who said he wasn’t contacted by the movie, remained until the end. He said the movie was “OK” but didn’t get him right.
“As far as my part, it wasn’t the real Johnny Curry,” he said. Curry attended with Rashard Cardon, a Detroit-area filmmaker, who said they’re working on developing a reality show that would feature Curry.
“White Boy Rick” stars acting newcomer Richie Merritt, 17, as the real-life Richard Wershe Jr. and Matthew McConaughey as his father. It tells the story of how Wershe became an FBI informant at 14 and was abandoned by authorities when he was given a life sentence at 17 for drug possession.
Wershe, now 49, was paroled in 2017 by the State of Michigan after spending about 30 years behind bars. He currently is serving time in Florida on a separate charge involving a stolen car scheme. He cooperated with the movie and met with several key members of the production, including Demange and producer Scott Franklin, who says he still speaks to him a few times a week.