UPDATE: Rob Ford movie shooting in Toronto
``Billions'' and ``Homeland'' star Damian Lewis is set to portray the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford in a film called ``Run This Town,'' but writer-director Ricky Tollman says it's not a biopic.
Tollman says Ford is actually a fairly minor character in the story of a young wannabe journalist and other millennials who struggle to make a living in a post-recession economy.
Tony Award-winning ``Dear Evan Hansen'' star Ben Platt plays a bumbling newsroom intern who wants to break the story on the Ford crack-smoking scandal, but is several steps behind other reporters.
Tollman says he wanted to create ``a sympathetic portrait'' of Ford and his tumultuous time in office before he died in 2016.
The film, which is currently being shot in Toronto and has no release date, also features Canadian actors Nina Dobrev, Mena Massoud and Scott Speedman.
Tollman says he was taken aback by the initial response to the film based on a brief synopsis that describes it as the story of ``a young journalist, desperate to prove himself, who catches wind of a scandal involving a flashy, unpredictable politician with no filter. Political aides attempt to keep their boss in check, and the story under wraps, in order to save their jobs.''
He says while many assumed the film would focus on Ford and some of the real reporters who covered the controversial mayor, ``this is an imagined story representing people that I know that have been trying to make their way in life in the footsteps of people who are much better at their jobs.''
``(Platt's character) is a guy who is an intern at a newspaper, who is an assistant to reporters. He's working in the records and archives of the newspaper and trying to up his position there. It was a surprise to me (that) people took three words out of the description of the film and spun it into something that it's not, without having read the script,'' Tollman says.
While he expects there may be other films about Ford in various stages of development, Tollman says he wasn't worried about competing with other scripts.
``This isn't the Rob Ford story,'' he says.
``And I didn't want to portray Rob in a way that people already imagined him or in ways he's already been portrayed in the media.... I think Rob isn't just a caricature, he's a person and he's a human, he had two children and a wife and a family, and he cared very deeply about the city he was the mayor of. And this was a guy with demons.
``I wanted to show a side of him that people forget about.''