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Seth Rogen says Rob Ford scandal helped him sell crackhead-politician film

Movie directors and writers Evan Goldberg, left, and Seth Rogen in Toronto on May 28, 2013.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

It's not about Rob Ford specifically, but a film Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg dreamed up about a politician who smokes crack and gets into severe trouble as a result has just been picked up – and they feel quite certain it's because of the international headline-making scandal involving the mayor of Toronto.

"Thanks to this crazy Rob Ford, it sold a week ago. We've been trying to make it for three, four years. And we were getting ready to take it out again; we did a big rewrite over the last year and we were revving up to take it out and then at the perfect moment, the real life version of this started to play out," said Goldberg on the Vancouver-area set of the film they're currently shooting, The Interview.

"No one wanted to make it for years," said Rogen. "Then this guy smoked crack and one of the happy upshoots of that is that you know somewhere in Hollywood someone's like 'Man it would be great to have a script about a politician who smokes crack,' and someone was like 'There already is one. They've been trying to sell it for years.' "

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The screenplay – by Matthew Bass and Theodore Bressman (one-time assistants to Rogen and Goldberg, respectively) – has the politician on the verge of being deposed and facing certain time behind bars. He decides to escape the country in order to avoid jail, but in order to pull it off, he needs to collect some money. Goldberg and Rogen are producing it with Mark Gordon. While they would not disclose which studio they had sold it to, Deadline.com reports that it is Sony Pictures. (Deadline also reports that the politician is a governor, but Goldberg referred to the character as a mayor.) Goldberg says they are already talking to directors and stars. "We're going to jump on it pretty fast."

When asked who might play the disgraced mayor, Goldberg threw out a number of names including Jason Bateman, John Goodman, Michael Fassbender and Bryan Cranston. "There are just a billion options. Because he doesn't have to be old or young specifically in the way it's written."

When asked whether they were certain the script sold because of the scandal surrounding Ford (or as he's come to be known on late night TV, "the crack-smoking mayor of Toronto"), Goldberg said he can't be sure, but feels it's a pretty great coincidence. "Maybe it was purely on the merit of the script, but it didn't hurt that in real life it was happening and everybody was obsessed with it."

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About the Author
Western Arts Correspondent

Marsha Lederman is the Western Arts Correspondent for The Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver. She covers the film and television industry, visual art, literature, music, theatre, dance, cultural policy, and other related areas. More

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