BlackBerry’s rise to prominence has had lasting impacts on today’s technology industry, and the company’s ultimate downfall tells a compelling story, according to cast members of the upcoming “BlackBerry” film.  

In an interview with BNN Bloomberg on Friday, Jay Baruchel and Glenn Howerton spoke about their respective roles in the film that chronicles the history of the Waterloo-based technology company. 

“The world that we live in today rests in large part on the shoulders of what these nerds did in Kitchener at the end of the 90s,” Baruchel said. 

In the film, Baruchel portrays Research In Motion Inc. (RIM) co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, and Howerton plays the role of Jim Balsillie, the other RIM co-CEO.  

“Their (BlackBerry’s) end is somewhat tragic, at least narratively, because they went from almost half the market share to zero after the advent of the iPhone,” Baruchel said. 

Baruchel said the story of the rise and fall of the Canadian technology company has all the elements of a good story, as well as “utter anonymity,” which he said is a “chronically Canadian thing.” 

“They're not household names, I think there's often a cult of personality around tech titans and innovators. For the most part, these guys are still under the radar,” he said. 

Howerton said key aspects of the film deal with the process of getting the BlackBerry smartphone to market.

“These guys were in a race the entire time to beat other people who are trying to do the exact same thing,” Howerton said. 

“I think that's part of the thriller aspect of the film, is watching, ‘How do we get this thing to market before somebody beats us?’” 


BlackBerry devices surged in popularity following the release of its first smartphone in 2002, but some now see the device as nostalgic. 

“It’s one of these products that seems to still occupy quite a sentimental and nostalgic bit of real estate in a lot of people's minds and certainly the people that used them,” Baruchel said. 

The device had a culture of its own, according to Baruchel.


Howerton said he was set to meet Balsillie for the first time Friday night ahead of the film’s scheduled release on May 12.

Baruchel said that Balsillie appears to understand the movie is “not a documentary,” but rather a drama. 

“I believe certainly artistically, that there's a distinction between accuracy and truth. The larger sort of philosophical truth and the emotional truth of the story trumps absolutely everything,” Baruchel said.