Run this town sxsw

Rob Ford movie to premiere at SXSW this spring

Remember when actor Damian Lewis dressed up like late Toronto mayor Rob Ford—in full prosthetics—and terrified the crap out of everyone who saw him filming around town?

It wasn't just for kicks, as I'm sure you already know. It was for the film Run This Town, which we've just learned is set to premiere at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival in Austin, Texas, this March.

The political drama, while set against the backdrop of Ford's last year in office, doesn't actually feature Lewis all that heavily according to director Ricky Tollman. Rather, it focuses on the investigation into Ford's crack abuse scandal and the Toronto Star journalist(s) who broke the story in 2013.

Broadway star Ben Platt will play a ficticious character whose role in what came to be an international news story is loosely based on real-life investigative reporters Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle. The casting choice was not without controversy of its own.

"After graduation, Bram gets his dream job at a local newspaper. In his mind he’s the next Woodward (but he’s probably more of a Bernstein)," reads a description of the movie on SXSW's website.

"A year in, he realizes that maybe the paper business is no longer what he'd seen in the movies. Instead of investigative journalism, he is writing easily consumable Top 10 Lists - Best Hot Dogs in the City! Ten Ways to Tell You Grew Up in the 90s!"

Har har.

"After the paper is hit with another round of layoffs, Bram stumbles upon a potentially explosive story involving the city's controversial mayor," the blurb comtonues. "But he needs to beat the mayor's smooth talking aide, Kamal, to the punch. This could be Bram's big break — if he had any idea how to be a real journalist."

Ford only be a minor character in the film, but Torontonians are waiting with baited breath to see the most interesting political scandal in our city's political history portrayed on the silver screen.

Sadly, the legend himself passed away from cancer in 2016, but his legend lives in on at least 10 books, hundreds of iconic video clips, and now, a legit Hollywood movie.

SXSW will host the world premiere of Run This Town as part of Narrative Spotlight program in March, though a specific date for the screening has yet to be announed. Along with Lewis and Platt, it stars Nina Dobrev, Mena Massoud, Jennifer Ehle, Lauren Collins and Scott Speedman.

Lead photo by

Christian Bobak


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Film

Cate Blanchett showed up at a drag brunch in Toronto on the weekend

People keep spotting Chris Rock all around Toronto

Toronto actor Simu Liu cast as Marvel's first Chinese superhero

TIFF just unveiled its opening night movie for this year's festival

Spike Lee is coming to Toronto for Do the Right Thing

People across Canada are now boycotting Cineplex for showing Unplanned movie

Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson are filming a movie in Toronto

An anti-abortion movie is screening in Toronto and people aren't happy