The Tampa Theatre screened Live by Night to a packed audience eager to see how their city would be portrayed by Hollywood. In the film, set in the 1920s, Ben Affleck plays a reluctant gangster who knows how to make money in Florida, but doesn’t have the stomach for some of the more grisly aspects of mob life. It’s his humanity that ultimately saves him. Chris Messina plays an unrecognizably overweight sidekick to Affleck. But the real star of the movie is Tampa, with its dirt-road Ybor City, Spanish-moss trees, underground-tunnel architecture and, as Affleck says, “warm weather and beautiful women.” Although Warner Bros. chose to shoot the film in Georgia (due to generous tax breaks), Tampa residents can be proud of how their city comes across: diverse, exciting, and bending toward an arc of justice.
Live by Night official trailer. Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures.