What Happens When the Mayor Smokes Crack?
by Ben Kenigsberg | New York Times | March 5, 2020
“Run This Town,” a jagged, snappy procedural that splits its time between a downsizing newspaper and a dysfunctional city government, is a fictionalized account of an actual scandal. In 2013, The Toronto Star and Gawker both said their reporters had watched a video that appeared to show Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, smoking crack. Six months later, he admitted to having used the drug, but did not resign.
Bram (Ben Platt), a young journalist who writes listicles for a Toronto news outlet, is clearly out of his depth when he meets a potential source who wants to sell him the video. The movie, which ends with Bram delivering a self-righteous, mostly unmotivated defense of his generation’s work ethic, takes a weirdly sympathetic attitude toward his stumbles.
The film is much sharper at city hall, where the two other major characters work. Kamal (Mena Massoud), the special assistant to the mayor, gleefully demonstrates his reporter-stonewalling strategies to Ashley (Nina Dobrev), a new press aide. She eagerly runs interference for the mayor until he shows up at work drunk and grabs her lewdly. Damian Lewis plays Ford, whose name is not changed, in a surprisingly effective feat of prosthetics.
Making energetic use of split screens, the writer-director Ricky Tollman shows a gift for staccato cutting and clipped dialogue, as in a spirited discussion of terminology at city hall.
Read the rest of the original article at New York Times
He Was a Troubled Soul
by Mark Daniell | Toronto Sun | March 5, 2020
Billions star Damian Lewis plays the late Rob Ford in the new political thriller Run This Town. But down the line from the U.K. to promote the film, he wants to make it clear that it isn’t a straight biopic of the former crack-smoking Toronto mayor.
“This is a film about the younger generation around him in Toronto,” Lewis says. “It’s about the younger millennials who were affected by working for someone like Rob Ford.”
Written and directed by Ricky Tollman, the film pools together ambitious journalists and editors alongside social-climbing political aides as it dramatizes the scandal that plagued Ford’s steward as Toronto mayor.
In reality, it was Globe & Mail columnist (then a reporter at the Toronto Star) Robyn Doolittle who broke the story. Tollman’s film gender-swaps the character, casting Ben Platt (Netflix’s The Politician) as a struggling reporter who chases the infamous crack video in a bid to get out of writing top 10 lists.
Aladdin star Mena Massoud and Nina Dobrev play two assistants to the mayor, desperately trying to keep Ford’s behaviour under control.
“The film is mostly interested in the aftermath and trauma of being so close to a human wrecking ball like that,” Lewis, 49, says. “What does it do to you when you work for someone who behaves that way? That’s what the film is about. Of course, the film is a thriller, too, because everyone is trying to find out exactly what went on, which is why I loved it.”
Continue reading Damian Lewis on playing Rob Ford – March 5, 2020
When Will Emmy Voters Notice?
by Greg Braxton | LA Times | March 3, 2020
“Billions,” Showtime’s acclaimed drama about the cutthroat world of New York finance and politics, is about to launch its fifth season in May, just in time to catch the wave of an election season in which two billionaires are running for president.
But although real-life billionaire Mark Cuban has made a few appearances on the show playing himself, don’t expect President Donald Trump or Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg to make any cameos during the upcoming season. The same goes for billionaire Tom Steyer, who dropped out of the race after his largely self-financed campaign failed to catch fire in the South Carolina primary.
Not that “Billions” needs them. The series already has more than enough political intrigue and razor-sharp personal dynamics in the blood feud pitting federal government watchdog Charles “Chuck” Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) against wealthy hedge-fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis).
And producers suggest the stakes will be even higher this season with the addition to the cast of Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife”) and Corey Stoll (“House of Cards”).
“There is no doubt this season features titanic figures at each other’s throat[s],” said “Billions” executive producer Brian Koppelman, who runs the series with fellow executive producer David Levien. “People are coming up against figures of equal size, which makes these conflicts life-and-death — existential.”
Continue reading Billions Has Become a Critics’ Darling – March 4, 2020
“Damian Did Such a Great Job”
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | March 3, 2020
In case you missed it, Nina Dobrev and Mena Massoud were answering questions live today about Run This Town, which is out in select theaters this Friday, March 6, and well as Video On Demand same day. About 25 minutes into this video, Nina talks about the scene she filmed with Damian in Run This Town.
Why Wendy Rhoades is Bobby Axelrod’s Most Deadly Weapon
by Damianista | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | March 2, 2020
Damian Lewis and Maggie Siff bring to life one of the most intriguing and complex relationships we have ever seen on TV. It is sincere and it is strategic. It is friendly and it is flirty. It is personal and it is professional. It is delicate. It is difficult. It is delicious. The first three seasons have revealed there is no romance in their relationship, but there is real partnership. Bobby and Wendy find meaning in what they built together and can draw the best out of each other. In case you missed my earlier posts on these two, you can find them here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Season 4 is a true testament to why Axe values Wendy at a level where he is even willing to go to jail for her. Do not get me wrong, loyalty rules Bobby Axelrod’s world and he can drop Wendy in a millisecond should he suspect any disloyalty as he did in Season 1 Finale. But as long as he trusts Wendy is one loyal confidante and also the smartest person in the room, there is nothing Axe will not do to keep Wendy safe and happy. And the key is in his words to Wendy in Season 4 Episode 10 New Year’s Day where Bobby remembers the exact time and place he knew Wendy was a keeper. Continue reading Bobby Axelrod and Wendy Rhoades: A Special Relationship, Part VII – March 2, 2020