Written By GingersnapComments Off on How Accurate is Run This Town – March 6, 2020
Fact or Fiction? A Comparison.
by Courtney Shea | Toronto Life | March 6, 2020
It’s been 10 years since Rob Ford rode his gravy train all the way into the mayor’s office. From the start, his reign was mired in scandals and stupors, but things reached international-talk-show-punchline levels with rumours of a video that showed him smoking crack. This regrettable slice of city lore is the basis of Run This Town, a new movie out Friday starring Damian Lewis (Homeland) as Ford, and co-starring Nina Dobrev and Mena Massoud. The drama centres around the hunt for the elusive video, and for those of us who lived through Crackgate, the story will feel familiar…sort of. Real-life events are the inspiration, but like a certain erstwhile mayor, writer and director Ricky Tollman has taken more than a few liberties with the truth. Here’s our (very spoilery) analysis of truths and post-truths in the film.
The protagonist Real life: The most significant deviation from actual events is the movie’s gender-swapped protagonist. In March 2013, Toronto Star reporter Robyn Doolittle received an anonymous call from a source with access to the crack-smoking Ford video. She viewed the footage in an Etobicoke parking lot a month later.
Run This Town: In the movie, the hungry young reporter chasing the crack video is 20-something journalism grad Bram Shriver (Ben Platt). Doolittle tweeted about the surprising gender swap when the movie was first announced: “I’m glad they’re rewriting the fact that it was a female reporter who investigated Rob Ford. Why have a woman be a lead character when a man could do it? Ammaright?” In response, Tollman said that his movie tells a different story: one that uses the Ford crack scandal to explore millennial entitlement and male privilege. It was, per Tollman, inspired by his own brother’s post–journalism school experience.
The paper Real life: The Star was the paper at the centre of the Crackgate scandal, though the video was ultimately scooped by Gawker, which published a written account of the video in May 2013.
Run This Town: Bram works at a fictional paper called the Record, reporting to an extremely cranky mid-level editor named David (Scott Speedman). In the film, the Star and the Globe also exist. When the story finally comes out, it’s on an unnamed website—a stand-in for Gawker. It’s unclear what purpose the Record serves as a plot device, since Bram could have just as easily worked at one of the real papers. Maybe because it’s because most real newsroom editors don’t look like Scott Speedman.
The mayor Real life: Ford was famously scruffy and unkempt—it was part of his Average Joe persona, but also down to his penchant for after-hours (and during-hours) debauchery. And while he grew up posh in Etobicoke, his accent was curiously blue-collar Ontario.
Run This Town: Hunky Brit Damian Lewis is totally unrecognizable in a fat suit and extensive prosthetics. The result captures Ford’s signature dishevelment. Playing the mayor in party-mode is where Lewis does his best work. A scene where he hosts an after-party at his office will probably feel familiar to anyone who worked at City Hall during the Ford administration. As for the accent, Lewis worked with a voice coach to pull off a convincing hoser-lite, but at times it sounds more East Coast than outskirts of Toronto.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on All The Ways To Watch Damian In The New Movie Run This Town – March 5, 2020
Hits Theatres, Digital Release and Video OnDemand Same Day
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | March 5, 2020
Damian’s new film Run This Town opens in select theaters across the US on Friday, March 6, 2020, in the following states: New York, Ohio, Michigan, California, Illinois, Texas, Minneapolis, and Washington. You can also view the movie digitally on iTunes for $12.99, Video OnDemand (VOD), and other usual digital suspects. If you search for it on an array of digital or VOD providers you normally use, even your local cable provider with VOD access, you’ll likely find it! For example, Contour with Cox Communications and Spectrum. All you lucky Canadians can see the film at your local movie theatre, so be sure to check showtimes!
Or as Director Ricky Tollman told us,
“BUT if people can catch it in the theater, where the sound is loud, the popcorn’s warm, and the room is dark, they’re in for a treat. Especially because the score by @AdrianYounge and @AliShaheed is THUMPING.”
Written By GingersnapComments Off on LA Times Review of Run This Town – March 5, 2020
‘Run This Town’ Runs the Table in a True Tale of Mayoral Malfeasance in Toronto
by Kenneth Duran | Los Angeles Times | March 5, 2020
Smart, ambitious and impressive, “Run This Town” is the best kind of feature directing debut, a film that entertains and makes you look forward to what will come next.
Written and directed by Ricky Tollman and inspired by a real-life scandal that enveloped Toronto’s then-Mayor Rob Ford half a dozen years ago, “Run This Town” does several things well.
It delivers a savvy portrait of millennials — eager to get ahead in a world they never made while coping with multiple pressures — by presenting two individuals who end up working two sides of the same situation.
Mena Massoud (“Aladdin”) plays Kamal Arafa, a special assistant to Ford, who is — truly — a larger-than-life mayor (that’s Damian Lewis under a ton of makeup).
Kamal’s job is spinning Ford’s periodic bad behavior, and when he hears about a tape that shows the mayor smoking crack, he swings into action.
Bram Shriver (Ben Platt, Tony winner for “Dear Evan Hansen”) is an aspiring journalist stuck doing “best of” lists. Eager to prove himself to his acerbic bosses (Jennifer Ehle and Scott Speedman, both excellent), he too gets wind of the tape and goes after it.
Intent on telling these individual stories (as well as that of another Ford assistant played by Nina Dobrev), “Run This Town” also finds time for generational commentary and an examination of how both politics and journalism operate.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on New York Times Review of Run This Town – March 5, 2020
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.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Damian Lewis on playing Rob Ford – March 5, 2020
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.”
Written By GingersnapComments Off on VIDEO: Run This Town Twitter Q&A – March 3, 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.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Run This Town Review – March 2, 2020
Damian Lewis is Exceptional as Ford
by Hannah Hoolihan | Screen Rant | March 2, 2020
In May of 2013, a video surfaced that appeared to show Toronto’s former mayor, Rob Ford, smoking crack. It was hardly the first time his name had come up in relation to controversy, but it was the rock big enough to cause a ripple effect throughout his administration. But, rather than focusing on Ford’s bombastic personality and fall from grace, writer-director Ricky Tollman’s debut feature centers on those in smaller positions working in a variety of industries around him. Whether they’re eager to break this monumental story or to try and keep it contained, the effort exuded by each party far outweighs Ford’s cataclysmic nature, even if his presence looms heavily over the narrative. Run This Town falls short of its storytelling aspirations but finds success in Ben Platt and Mena Massoud, who lead with lively, enthralling energy.
Run This Town‘s narrative is mainly focused on Kamal (Massoud), a political aide to Ford, and Bram (Platt), a recently-graduated journalism major with a hunger to break his first big story. The two live entirely different lives, but share one common goal of climbing the respective ladders at their institutions. When the video of Ford becomes known to Bram, he jumps at the opportunity to use this as his ticket to leave his current position as a listicle writer. Kamal, on the other hand, is struggling to contain the story while still maintaining his legitimacy in his field. In the end, the true focus of Tollman’s story is how tirelessly these two characters worked to prove themselves, which Massoud and Platt play up in equally electric performances.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on A Millennial Adventure Set During Rob Ford Scandal – Feb 29, 2020
Damian Lewis as Rob Ford Generated Worldwide Chatter
by Susan Minuk | The Canadian Jewish News | February 28, 2020
The wildly anticipated movie Run This Town follows three millennials struggling to find their place in the world against the backdrop of the Rob Ford scandal that engulfed Toronto in 2013.
This is the directorial debut for writer/director Ricky Tollman, and is produced by Randy Manis and Jonathan Bronfman. The three-year project was filmed in Toronto in 20 days, shooting at landmarks such as Nathan Phillips Square, city chambers and the Thompson Hotel. Tollman says viewers, Toronto ones especially, may be surprised to see the iconic United Bakers Dairy Restaurant on screen.
In the film, Tollman examines the relationship between news, politics and entertainment.
“With the surge in clickbait headlines and 140-character reporting, politics has shifted. What can get the most likes? It’s entertainment,” Tollman said. “I wanted to tell a story about people that took place in the walls of news, which has shifted over the last 10 or 12 years from binding fact check news to opinion and the most eyeballs.”
Bringing actor Damian Lewis to play Ford generated worldwide chatter. “We needed a specific actor that could be that politician. And Damian is charming and funny – but can also play shades of darkness in one moment and then in the next moment you can be laughing with him,” Tollman said. “And you’re not sure you should be laughing!”
Although the film is set during the Ford scandal, it isn’t specifically “The Rob Ford story.”
“He appears in just a handful of scenes – it’s really a jumping off point,” Manis said. “I think that the portrait of Rob is sympathetic in that we definitely see multiple sides of him.”