A new movie about a gangster mayor who smokes crack is stirring up controversy for its resemblance to the life of the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford. Filth City is the indie feature that is drawing attention, for a variety of reasons, in the entertainment and political arenas of Toronto.
The film is an interpretation of events that happened to, and around, former city mayor Rob Ford in 2013. Director and co-writer Andy King calls it a “crime comedy with a Canadian twist.” But both King and the film’s star, Humber College comedy grad Pat Thornton, insist the movie is not “the Rob Ford story.”
Thornton, whose physical resemblance to Ford is scarily close, was King’s first and only choice to play the role.
“He’s got all the power of a Chris Farley without the disfunction,” said King, referring to the late Saturday Night Live comedian.
There are scenes in the movie with the fictional town of York’s Mayor Hogg (Thornton) brandishing guns, hiding bodies and groping women, as well as many, many scenes of crack smoking. The film won Best Comedy and Best Ensemble Performance at the Canadian Film Fest in March.
King said younger people seem to really like the movie, and get that it’s a satire, but Ford Nation is having a much harder time seeing the humour in it. King has received numerous death threats online after Doug Ford went on CP24 and warned King not to cross the street if he’s driving down the road.
King revealed that just days ago he spoke with Doug Ford on the phone. King said he was told Ford was going to apologize for enabling the threats by not telling Ford Nation to back off. However, according to King, the apology never happened. In the beginning of the conversation he said Ford “vented” on him, but then started telling him stories about his brother.
“I told him I thought Rob would like the film, “ said King.
By the end of the conversation King said they had made a date to go for a coffee.
The Humber Et Cetera reached out to Doug Ford but had not heard back by the time of publication.
Both King and Thornton said they were not Ford supporters when he was mayor, but appreciated why people loved him so much.
“I think he was a very likeable guy, but he obviously lived his life out of control, “ said Thornton.
“I feel like people haven’t processed Rob Ford yet and what he meant to our city – his legacy. Making this movie was our own way of doing that,” said King. “Other people can use it as a way to discuss their own feelings, too. That’s art — that’s what it does.”
Anyone interested can pre-order a DVD of the movie at filthcity.net. No future screenings of the movie have been announced.