Rob Ford movie Run This Town to premiere at SXSW

Toronto-shot film about the crack video scandal stars Ben Platt as a struggling reporter and Damien Lewis as the late mayor

A movie about the Rob Ford crack-smoking scandal will have its world premiere at South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas this March.

Shot in Toronto and directed by Ricky Tollman, Run This Town sees Billions and Homeland star Damien Lewis donning prosthetics and silicon strips to play the city’s late mayor, though Ford is said to be a minor figure in a movie that’s largely about the reporters working on the crack video story.

Run this Town faced criticism last spring when Globe And Mail reporter Robyn Doolittle, who worked on the Ford story at the Toronto Star before publishing the book Crazy Town, pointed out how the film was about a male journalist played by Pitch Perfect and Dear Evan Hansen’s Ben Platt.

“I’m glad they’re rewriting the fact that it was a female reporter who investigated Rob Ford,” tweeted Doolittle. “Why have a woman be a lead character when a man could do it? Ammaright?”

In an interview with the National Post, the filmmakers responded that the film isn’t about the journalist who broke the story.

Neither Ford nor Toronto are mentioned in Run This Town’s SXSW synopsis. Similar to previous descriptions, the movie is about a young reporter named Bram (Platt) struggling through journalism’s listicle era to break a scandal dogging the mayor. “But he needs to beat the mayor’s smooth talking aide, Kamal, to the punch,” the SXSW description reads.

Nina Dobrev, Mena Massoud, Jennifer Ehle and Scott Speedman round out the cast.

Rob Ford was no stranger to Austin, having travelled there to sign a Music City Alliance with its mayor in October 2013.

Other Canadian titles headed to SXSW include Grace Glowicki’s Tito and Brent Hodge’s Who Let the Dogs Out.

Tito is billed as a gothic feminist fable starring Glowicki as a cis male who is hunted down by sexual predators.

Who Let the Dogs Out is a documentary exploring Baha Men’s nearly 20-year-old hit single (and hopefully the Anslem Douglas calypso track Doggie that they covered).

Canadian director Kari Skogland will also be at SXSW with the supernatural thriller series NOS4A2, based on Joe Hill’s novel.


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