The creative team behind “Dumb Money” drew parallels between the battle between Reddit investors and Wall Street tycoons over GameStop and the actors and writers strikes that are roiling Hollywood at the Toronto Film Festival premiere.
“We just watched a film about the system being rigged. It’s rigged on Wall Street and it’s rigged in Hollywood,” said Lauren Schuker Blum, who co-wrote the screenplay with Rebecca Angelo. “We’re proud to be part of a union that’s fighting for transparency.”
Craig Gillespie directed “Dumb Money,” which chronicles the outrageous frenzy between amateur investors and hedge fund billionaire that became the infamous GameStop stock saga in January 2021. As the infamous story goes, a group of ragtag investors on Reddit managed to band together to put a squeeze on Wall Street traders who bet that the video game retailer GameStop would fail.
The starry ensemble of Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Seth Rogen, Shailene Woodley, Sebastian Stan and Nick Offerman wasn’t in attendance because of the dual labor strikes that have left screenwriters and actors on the picket lines. Most actors aren’t at this year’s festival — with the exception of some who were granted waivers by the Screen Actors Guild to do publicity — which means fewer red carpets and promotional opportunities for films that rely on buzz for awards consideration or box office attention. In the case of the world premiere of “Dumb Money,” dozens of seats throughout the orchestra, mezzanine and balcony were left empty in the sprawling Roy Thomson Hall.
“We’re here in our capacity as executive producers,” Schuker Blum added. “We are proud to stand alongside all the writers and actors on strike.”
Gillespie praised the actors, saying “I learned very early on if you don’t have great actors, you’re not going to fix it in the edit.”
He cast Dano as the patron saint of the infamous Reddit group Wall Street Bets after he saw “Swiss Army Man,” the ribald comedy about a farting corpse. “I hadn’t worked with Paul Dano before, but I’ve always admired his work. He has such range.”
Of Rogen, who plays a hedge fund owner, Gillespie added, “Seth is such a versatile actor. Getting him to do something against type is exciting.”
Sony Pictures is bringing “Dumb Money” to select theaters on Sept. 15 before expanding nationwide on Sept. 29.