SXSW to screen 'Run This Town,' which includes Rob Ford character
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SXSW to screen 'Run This Town,' which includes Rob Ford character

TORONTO — A drama that features a portrayal of the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford will make its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival.

“Run This Town” is in the “Narrative Spotlight” section of the festival, which runs March 8-17.

Tony Award-winning “Dear Evan Hansen” star Ben Platt plays the lead role of a fledgling journalist trying to break a story involving the city’s controversial mayor.

Ford isn’t specifically mentioned in a description of the film on the festival website.

But in an interview from the Toronto set last April, writer-director Ricky Tollman told The Canadian Press that “Homeland” star Damian Lewis was playing Ford in the film.

Tollman stressed it’s not a biopic and that the mayor is actually a fairly minor character.

“This isn’t the Rob Ford story, this is a story about people that I know and people I grew up with and a generation of people,” said the first-time director, who noted the Ford character is only “in a few key scenes and a few key moments.”

He added that he wanted to create “a sympathetic portrait” of Ford and his tumultuous time in office before he died in 2016.

Tollman also said Platt’s character isn’t based on any real-life reporters who covered Ford’s tenure.

The film’s SXSW synopsis describes Platt’s character as Bram, a new graduate whose journalism dreams are dashed by click-bait assignments and a tough economy.

“After the paper is hit with another round of layoffs, Bram stumbles upon a potentially explosive story involving the city’s controversial mayor,” says the synopsis. 

“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.”

Other cast members include Canadian actors Nina Dobrev, Mena Massoud and Scott Speedman.

The Canadian Press