“We couldn’t believe that no one would have this story. We called our agents and said ‘Is anyone producing a Bre-X fraud story?’ The answer was no. No one had even heard of it, probably because it was a Canadian story and Americans are very focused on American stories,” Massett told Peter Armstrong, host of CBC’s On the Money.
So Massett and his co-creators made some changes.
Bre-X became the Washoe Mining Corporation and the story moved from the concrete corridors of Calgary to the great state of Nevada. David Walsh became Kenny Wells, Dutch prospector John Felderhof was combined with Indonesian geologist Michael de Guzman to become the dashing South American Michael Acosta (played by Edgar Ramirez).
For star Matthew McConaughey, the role of glad-handing salesman was attractive because it was a dynamic lead character. That the character he played happened to be based on a real person was a bonus.
“The fact that you find out that it is based on real events is extra sweetener for me, because then I have a source, the real guy David Walsh, to research what really happened in the story,” he told CBC News.
Gold boils the Bre-X story down to a buddy film, with Wells desperate for one last score and Acosta depicted as a swashbuckling problem-solver. It downplays the unanswered questions of the real case in favour of more a heroic tale.
But Gold is, by no means, the first American film to bury Canadian content.
In the movie, Ben Affleck plays a brave CIA officer who smuggles six American diplomats out of Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Victor Garber makes a few brief appearances as Ken Taylor, the real-life Canadian ambassador at the time, but it’s Affleck’s agent who saves the day with the daring, last-minute mission.
In this case, the details of what actually happened may have been too humdrum for Hollywood’s liking. The diplomats hid in the homes of the Canadian ambassador and deputy chief of mission for 79 days.
Canadian officials weren’t the only ones to take issue with Argo. The CIA fact-checked Argo on Twitter after the film was released.
The importance of pre-booking your flight is not exactly the stuff of American thrillers.
Beginning in the summer of 2011 thieves in Quebec made off with nearly $ 19 million worth of syrup. But in 2013, it was reported that American actor Jason Segel was in talks to make the film with Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon.
Just imagine, Michel Côté as the headstrong farmer who decides to take a stand against the powerful syrup federation. Jay Baruchel as the wily private eye looking to expose the syrup smugglers and of course William Shatner as the sticky-fingered federation president. Get cracking Canada!