By Alex Coop
Despite all the speculation surrounding Crazy Town and the direction its movie adaptation will take, one thing is for certain, it’s not going to be an extended Rob Ford related SNL skit.
The television and movie rights of Crazy Town were sold to Canadian company Blue Ice Productions only seven days after the book’s release, which came out on Feb. 3. Daniel Iron, producer and Blue Ice’s Canadian division president of production, said he has no intention on ignoring the investigative journalism found in Crazy Town, which was written by Toronto Star reporter Robyn Doolittle.
“I’ll take my cues from (Robyn’s) book,” he said, but ensured the bits of humour found in the book are aspects he doesn’t want to shy away from.
The story behind Ford’s journey to becoming mayor, combined with his family’s lengthy history in the Ontario political world, grabbed Iron’s interest a while ago. A vision for a potential movie quickly began to form in his mind.
“It’s a very dramatic story about a family, the city of Toronto, investigative journalism, and Tea Party politics,” Iron said, referring to the U.S’. polarized political style.”I don’t want the film to take on a one-dimensional-angle.”
Iron said his upbringing in the suburbs contributed to his interest in the Ford family’s quest for power, but stressed the importance of the work done by Doolittle and everyone involved who covered the Fords.
“It was very clear and unbiased, with weaving story lines,” answered Iron when asked what stood out about Crazy Town. “These are all things that can make a good movie.”
To do the book justice, he wants to find actors who can offer more than just imitations of the characters they play. Jeffrey Berman, a professor from the film and media production program at Humber’s Lakeshore campus, said he’s confident in the film’s direction, especially with Iron spearheading the production.
“I know him, and he’s a thoughtful, smart film-maker, and there’s a lot of thought-provoking material to be used,” he said, adding the casting choices will be highly important moving forward.
“Many people will probably be like, ‘Oh, a comedian should’ve played that role,’ but that’s likely not going to happen,” Berman said. “The movie will need actors who can play complex characters.”
Evan Henderson, a third-year film and television student at Humber, suggested U.S comic writer and actor Bruce Vilanch to play Rob Ford.
“He’s been continually funny for many years, just like Ford,” he said.
Joking aside, he explained how local actors would probably do him better justice because Ford is too far removed from big-name Hollywood actors, who might not take his character seriously.
“I think better comedy is when the character is being portrayed as honestly as possible. And someone closer to home could pick up on that and find some more subtle comedy.”
This will not be Iron’s first stab at a movie based on journalism. He produced 2010’s Bang Bang Club, a drama based on the true-life experiences of four photographers capturing the last days of apartheid in South Africa.
Iron said the studio is currently hiring writers, and hopes to release the movie in about a year.
“I want to get it out there while the story is still on the public’s mind,” he said.