Pain and Gain likes to tell you that it’s a true story. And for the most part it is. However, there are three huge differences between fiction and reality. And one of them happens to be Dwayne Johnson’s Paul Doyle.
Paul Doyle is a composite character. What that means is that the screenwriters combined a couple of characters into one character. So yes, in early drafts of the script it probably extended the Sun Gym Gang to be more than three people, because in reality the gang had as many as 6 or 7 members.
Jorge Delgado is probably the main guy used to create Paul Doyle. He was the third guy who spent the most time with Daniel Lugo and Adrian Doorbal and ended up ratting out everyone to get a reduced sentence. While Carl Weekes is likely the inspiration for the religious aspect of Doyle, as well as the cokehead side of the character. Weekes had moved to Miami with the best of intentions. He wanted to get clean and get away from crime. And, of course, he found Christianity in the process. John Raimondo, who the gang called to help dispose of the bodies of Frank Griga and his girlfriend, was the other part. He was the physical part of Doyle, as he stood 6’5, 250 pounds.
Other major differences between the movie and real life include the death of Frank Griga. In the movie it all looks like an accident when Daniel Lugo gets heated about being called an amateur and they get into a fight. In real life, Adrian Doorbal, who was played by Anthony Mackie in the film, killed Griga and choked him out.
The other difference is that Tony Shalhoub’s Victor Kershaw wasn’t as big of an asshole in real life. Yes, he was doing some Medicare fraud and was found guilty and served some time, but he wasn’t going around insulting people like he does in the film.
There are some smaller differences, but they don’t matter too much. Doorbal’s wife, played by Rebel Wilson in the movie, was a lot more suspicious of Doorbal’s activities and he constantly lied to her. Sabina, played by Bar Paly, was Lugo’s mistress and didn’t hook up with “Paul Doyle.” In fact, Lugo was a married guy and had multiple girls throughout this whole ordeal.
The overall arc of the movie is true to the real story though. It really is as batshit crazy as portrayed. Michael Bay and his screenwriters made changes that drive home a satirical look at the American Dream. And not only that, but how Lugo wanted to do great things but didn’t actually want to do any work. And that’s not what the American Dream is about; it’s about hard work and earning what you get. The changes were made to streamline things to that goal.
So when you get a chance, head over to the Miami New Times to read the entire feature and exactly what happened in Pain Gain, real life version. [Miami New Times]