September 23, 2022

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The rise and catastrophic fall of what was once Canada’s most valuable company is set for the big screen.

Blackberry will tell the story of Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion (RIM), creators of the titular device, which for a time was the world’s most popular smartphone.

The film stars Canadian actor Jay Baruchel as company co-founder Mike Lazaridis and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘s Glenn Howerton as co-CEO Jim Balsillie. 

The film was adapted from the 2015 book Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry, by Sean Silcoff and Jacquie McNish.

Research in Motion, which changed its name to Blackberry in 2013, was responsible for the Blackberry, which was once the most popular smartphone in the world. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Toronto’s Matt Johnson directs and also appears in the film as RIM’s other co-founder, Doug Fregin. The cast also includes Cary Elwes, Saul Rubinek and Michael Ironside. 

On Tuesday, producers added that Blackberry had finished production. It was filmed in and around Hamilton, Ont., with some scenes from nearby Waterloo and London. XYZ Films, which co-financed the film, will be introducing the project to buyers at TIFF, while Elevation Pictures will be distributing it in Canada.

RIM was founded in 1984 by business partners Lazaridis and Fregin, who had previously worked together on a failed LED sign business. After a decade of dabbling in various other technology projects, they turned their attention to the two-way communications systems that would become the foundation for the BlackBerry device.

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