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Dundalk Richie is "White Boy Rick"; local high schooler makes acting debut in major motion picture

Posted at 4:59 PM, Sep 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-14 20:41:12-04

Richie Merritt wanted a summer job at his hometown movie theater.

Manager of Flagship Cinemas Zach Wenger says the 16-year-old wouldn’t take no for an answer.

"He came in every single day,” Wenger said, “Even though we weren’t hiring he came in every single day and asked for a job. We told him we weren’t hiring. He was pretty persistent though. He left his name and phone number on a piece of paper and came back every day for about two weeks."

Wenger hired the kid and he ripped tickets and shoveled popcorn for weeks before Richie told anyone he was “White Boy Rick.”

"Didn't even mention it,” Wenger said, “Just came in like a normal 16-year-old, just wanted a summer job. Had no idea he was in a big-time movie."

That big-time movie is “White Boy Rick,” a true story of a teenage street hustler, FBI informant and drug kingpin in 1980's Detroit.

The local Flagship Cinema's usher stars opposite Matthew McConaughey in the Sony Pictures film due out tonight.

It is why the staff at the Dundalk theater is setting up a private screening for Richie Merritt and 150 of his closest friends and family tonight.

We caught up with Merritt outside his family's Dundalk home today as he was coming home from school.

Movie studios being what they are, Richie couldn't give us an interview but told us how excited he was for the release and his new-found career.

His mother is just as excited, "we're very blessed, we're proud. All of us, we are just so, so proud of him."

But Carrie Merritt is prouder for how Richie is handling his whirlwind fame.

After all she said, it was by pure happenstance.

Richie was late for school at Dundalk High one day and as he walked into the principal's office, there was the casting director for the Sony Pictures project.

After searching for two years the director knew then that White Boy Rick needed to be played by Dundalk Richie.

And just like that...a star was born.

"He is just an amazing kid,” his stepmother said, “He is very down to earth and he hasn’t let any of this phase him. He is still Richie from Dundalk…and he will be, no matter what."