Run This Town Interview: Nina Dobrev & Mena Massoud Talk Rob Ford and Toronto

We’ve all heard the phrase, “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” But it’s tough to see the silver lining in the Rob Ford shitstorm that raged through Toronto back in 2013.

You see, the mayor of our fine city was caught on camera smoking crack. Once word of the footage leaked, the press descended on the story like a pack of jackals sensing a wounded animal. The attention thrust Ford (and Toronto) into the international spotlight, and the mayor and the city both became laughingstocks.


Ford’s crack-smoking incident is ripe for the big screen treatment. Hell, his entire political career makes for riveting drama. So, it was only a matter of time before an ambitious screenwriter tackled the story. Run This Town, from writer-director Ricky Tollman, is that story. Except… not really.

Tollman’s movie does feature the Rob Ford crack scandal, but Toronto’s infamous mayor isn’t the story’s primary focus. Tollman treats Ford (played by Damian Lewis in a fat suit) like a force of nature who crashes through a scene to throw the world off its axis. The heart of the story lies in the characters on the outside of the scandal as they struggle to make sense of Ford’s reality-warping presence.

This movie is really about a wet behind the ears journalist who struggles to break the crack scandal story, as well as the young members of Ford’s team dealing with the fallout. Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries) play the members of team Ford tasked with protecting the mayor from himself.

That Shelf sat down with both actors while they were in Toronto promoting Run This Town. We discussed their hometown, the city’s infamous mayor, and what’s on their shelves?

Run This Town Interview: Nina Dobrev & Mena Massoud

Run This Town synopsis:

Naive, young Toronto newspaper reporter Bram (Ben Platt) finds himself doing desk work instead of breaking hard-hitting stories, until he accidentally finds scandalous information about the city’s controversial mayor, Rob Ford (Damian Lewis). Bram attempts to pry information from Ford’s aides, Ashley (Nina Dobrev) and Kamal (Mena Massoud), who are trying to cover Ford’s tracks and spin the story. Written and directed by Ricky Tollman. Scott Speedman co-stars.

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