BlackBerry: Story of Doomed Smartphone Company Casts Jay Baruchel & Glenn Howerton, XYZ Films Boards Sales for TIFF (EXCLUSIVE)

Before the iPhone, there was the mighty BlackBerry — the world’s first smartphone, which enjoyed a meteoric rise in the early 2000s only to meet a catastrophic demise.

A new movie from “The Dirties” and “Operation Avalanche” director Matt Johnson, simply entitled “BlackBerry,” will detail the rise and fall of the once-ubiquitous device as its Canadian parent company Research in Motion floundered in legal disputes and eventually lost its market advantage to competitors such as Apple and Samsung. At the heart of the story is the business relationship between co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.

The film’s cast is led by Jay Baruchel (“This Is The End,” “Knocked Up”) and Glenn Howerton (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “A.P. Bio”). Though it’s not yet confirmed, it’s likely they will play the firm’s founders.

Other cast members include Cary Elwes (“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning,” “Saw”), Saul Rubinek (“Hunters,” “True Romance”), Rich Sommer (“The Devil Wears Prada,” “Mad Men”), Martin Donovan (“Tenet,” “Big Little Lies”), Michael Ironside (“Total Recall,” “Scanners”) and Johnson (“The Dirties,” “Operation Avalanche”).

Johnson and Miller adapted the screenplay from the bestselling 2015 book “Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry” by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, reporters at Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

“BlackBerry” has now wrapped production.

XYZ Films, which co-financed the movie, will be introducing the project to buyers at TIFF. Elevation Pictures will distribute the film in Canada.

“BlackBerry” is produced by Niv Fichman (“Enemy,” “The Red Violin”), Matthew Miller (“The Dirties,” “Operation Avalanche”), Fraser Ash (“Possessor,” “Closet Monster”) and Kevin Krikst (“Possessor,” “Closet Monster”). The pic is a Rhombus Media and Zapruder Films production, with the participation of Telefilm Canada and Ontario Creates, in association with CBC Films, IPR.VC, and XYZ Films, who are also executive producing.

Johnson and Miller are repped by 3 Arts Entertainment. Baruchel is repped by CAA and Thruline Entertainment, Howerton is repped by WME and 3 Arts Entertainment, Elwes is repped by APA and LINK Entertainment, Rubinek is repped by Noble Caplan Abrams and Artists & Representatives, Sommer is repped by Innovative Artists and Davis Spylios Management, Donovan is repped by Buchwald and GGA and Ironside is repped by TalentWorks and The Artist Representation Company.

(Pictured, L-R: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton)

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