‘Dumb Money,’ Craig Gillespie’s biographical film, employs a dramatized lens to explore the events of the GameStop Short Squeeze and Keith Gill’s significant association with it. While delving into Keith’s experiences, the narrative utilizes Kevin Gill, the former’s younger troublemaking brother, to glimpse into the protagonist’s personal life. Throughout the film, tensions run high between the two brothers due to the recent loss of their sister Sara, which leaves an empty spot within their dynamic as siblings. Nevertheless, despite the routine squabbles between Keith and Kevin, the two continue to support and care for each other, which forms a satisfying emotional storyline. As such, Kevin ends up occupying a distinct space within the film, which might make viewers intrigued about the character’s possible off-screen counterpart.
The Real-Life Kevin Gill
Kevin Gill from ‘Dumb Money’ is based on Keith Gill’s real-life brother of the same name. However, the real and reel versions of Kevin are extremely different, according to the former. In a since-expired Instagram story, Kevin made it clear that his film counterpart is far from reality. Kevin stated that he hates smoking cannabis, which isn’t the case with the character in the film. He identifies himself as a “reserved” person rather than a “loudmouth” in the comedy-drama. The real Kevin also owns a car whereas the character uses his brother Keith’s vehicle without permission whenever he needs the same. Kevin added that he works seven days a week, unlike his fictionalized counterpart.
Even though Gill’s story about Pete Davidson’s character is no longer available, fans can find numerous posts on his page, providing a glimpse into his life, saturated with his love for sports and close relationship with his mother. Furthermore, like his brother, Kevin also attended Stonehill College, where, as a freshman, he participated in track and field, specifically the All-America mile and the distance medley relay. Furthermore, the brothers earned their unique nicknames, Mr. Wizard (Keith) and Dr. Wizard (Kevin), in an obscure card game in 2008.
Still, despite the film’s potentially inaccurate portrayal of Kevin Gill, the screenwriters certainly looked for inspiration in his real life for certain instances. In a conversation with USA Today, co-screenwriter Lauren Schuker Blum disclosed the climactic scene of the Gill brothers streaking through a race track is actually partially based on a real-life event. “We found an old archived article about Kevin running naked in a lightning storm. We thought it was hilarious, but it also became a fitting third-act metaphor,” said Blum.
Pete Davidson’s Kevin Gill
Throughout the film, Kevin has a playful dynamic with Keith that remains unique to the quintessential sibling bond. With a constant litany of bickering and fights paired with an underlying understanding, the brothers manage to depict a relationship that many viewers will be able to relate to universally.
As a result, the chemistry between Paul Dano and Davidson, the actors who portray Keith and Kevin respectively, informs much of the authenticity behind the latter’s character. During his conversation with Entertainment Weekly, director Gillespie commented on the same and said, “I was thrilled with the idea of Pete and Paul being in their scenes together because Paul is such a classically trained actor, very meticulous about the spoken word, in absolutely the best way profoundly researched and prepared. [However, Davidson] is so spontaneous and improvisational in the way that he approaches the work.”
“So, to see those two different energies come together in a room and elevate each other was so exciting to watch. It’s like, oh, today we’re going to get to see Pete and Paul fight in the backseat of a car with their parents in the front. What could be better?” concluded Gillespie. Therefore, ultimately, Kevin Gill’s character, though based on a real person, harvests much of his connections to reality from his relatability as a character. Meanwhile, his accuracy to reality remains up for debate.