Set almost 20 years ago in a Miami that's now a memory, the film "Pain and Gain" is based on a hard-to-believe story. For Marc Schiller, the story is all too real.
"I was sure I was going to die. It was just a matter of how," Schiller recalled.
Schiller is the lone living victim of the misfit crew of muscle men that became known in the '90s as the Sun Gym Gang. The name is taken from the Miami Lakes area gym they used as home base. The gang first tried to kill Schiller, before torturing him, and bilking him out of millions.
"Some days, it doesn't seem like it was real, but life moves on. I've left it behind," Schiller said.
The gang made its mark inflicting pain for their own personal and financial gain. Their greed led them to Golden Beach couple Kriztina Furton and Frank Griga, whom they later killed, according to authorities. The Sun Gym Gang's story played out in court, and was documented by the Miami New Times, where it caught director Michael Bay's eye and inspired the film.
"People say, 'what the hell did we just see?' You know? It's not your normal movie," Bay told NBC 6.
Not at all, insisted Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. She wants viewers to understand the over-the-top tale is rooted in reality.
"There were real people who suffered. There were real people that were tortured and ultimately murdered. There are real people that are sitting in state prison who are presently on Death Row," she said.
Among them, Daniel Lugo, the alleged ringleader, played by Mark Wahlberg, and Adrian Noel Doorbal, played by Anthony Mackie. Dwayne Johnson's Paul Doyle character is based on several Sun Gym Gang members. Detective Ed DuBois, who helped cracked the case, says justice was served.
"The bottom line is, there's the old saying, crime doesn't pay, you know? And these guys learned their lesson," DuBois said.
Though the film stands to take in millions in ticket sales, Schiller won't be among them.
"From what I understand, the character that plays me is nothing like I am. So, there's no reason for me to see this. I lived it," Schiller explained.
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