Damian Lewis, the lithe redhead Englishman known for playing soldiers and billionaires, is set to play the former Toronto mayor Rob Ford in a “thriller” about his scandal-plagued career.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Run This Town is currently being filmed in Toronto “but the film is understood to follow a reporter (Ben Platt) who attempts to expose a scandal involving a politician who doesn't play by the rules.”
Other confirmed actors in the film include Nina Dobrev and Mena Massoud as Ford’s aides and Toronto’s very own Scott Speedman (forever Ben from Felicity, sorry dude).
According to an interview with Kit Magazine, Lewis is being fitted with a prosthetic in order to play Ford, who died in 2016.
In case you have a short memory, Rob Ford’s chaotic mayoral is definitely worth a movie or two. Already under fire for being very, very bad at being a mayor it was reported (first by Gawker, then by the Toronto Star) that there was a video of him smoking crack cocaine, which he denied, denied, denied until the the city’s police chief was like, yup, there totally is and Ford was forced to admit there was. There was a huge police investigation into the mayor and police documents suggests gang members were involved in a blackmail plot. There was also a connection to a murder and a violent home invasion. Of course, there was milder stuff too, like the time Ford ran over an older woman in council and the time he talked about going down on his wife. Honestly, this paragraph could go on for ages, so I’m moving on before I become a character from Springsteen’s “Glory Days.”
Now, we don’t have much to go on, as the Hollywood Reporter notes there’s not even character names on the IMDB page, but I do have some early questions for the producers of Run This Town.
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First off, Damian Lewis.
Fine, fine actor, with an Englishman’s pedigree for accents and the look of an older Ron Weasley. Band of Brothers, extraordinary work. Homeland, had a good season or two. Billions, it also has Paul Giamatti, who looks like the kind of guy who should play Rob Ford!
Hey, if Lewis can pull this off, more power to him, but by god, that’s a confident bit of casting, no?
Anyway, I have more serious concerns about the second lead, Ben Platt, who is playing the reporter trying to take down Ford.
Platt is a 24-year-old American best known for his work in the Pitch Perfect series. That’s all fine and good...but it turns out he's playing a fictional character who is an "entitled, incapable entry-level reporter," according to a Tweet by Platt.
Locally, it was the Toronto Star’s Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle (now at the Globe) who led the initial reporting on the Ford drug video, with Doolittle covering city hall throughout the Ford's mayoralty.
To be kind, Platt is far, far, far, too young to be playing a character based on Donovan.
Which leaves us with this—they have decided to turn a character based on Doolittle into an incompetent young man, which is oh-so-Hollywood and sure did piss her off. (Disclosure: Doolittle was my boss in my student newspaper days.)
Anyway, can’t wait to see how this turns out.
And for the record, here’s the VICE Canada fantasy casting of the Rob Ford movie.
- Rob Ford- Michael Chiklis
- Doug Ford - Christian Bale (still in Dick Cheney mode)
- Robyn Doolittle - Aubrey Plaza
- Bill Blair - Michael Keaton
- Sandro Lisi - Daniel Ings (or Jeremy Davies)
- Mark Towhey - Ed Harris
- Amin Massoudi - Kal Penn
- Kevin Donovan - Matt LeBlanc
- Renata Ford - Amy Ryan
- John Cook - John Mulaney
- Mohamed Siad - Lakeith Stanfield
- Adrienne Batra - Sakina Jaffrey
- Jimmy Kimmel - as himself
- Natalie Alcoba - Rashida Jones
Josh Visser will be played by an extra. Follow him on Twitter.