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Wait, Why Doesn't the Rob Ford Movie Include Robyn Doolittle?

Not surprised, just seriously disappointed. I mean she *literally* wrote the book on Rob Ford...

Rob Ford Movie Robyn Doolittle: Robyn Doolittle sits in a brown dress on top of stacks of newspapers in a warehouse

Robyn Doolittle sits on a stack of newspapers at the Toronto Star printing plant for a FLARE cover story from 2014 (Photo: MIGUEL JACOB, Styling: TIYANA GRULOVIC)

It was really only a matter of time before someone made a film about Rob Ford.

Toronto’s infamous mayor, who passed away in 2016, made headlines across the world in early May 2013 after Gawker and the Toronto Star published details about a grainy cellphone video that was being shopped around for six figures showing the politician smoking crack cocaine. It was a story that not only made Ford a household name, but also catapulted Robyn Doolittle’s career as an investigative reporter. She was one of the first journalists to uncover the story of Ford’s dangerous double life.

But don’t expect to see Doolittle in the upcoming big-screen adaption. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the upcoming drama entitled Run This Town will star Damian Lewis as Rob Ford—with the help of prosthetics, obvs—and Ben Platt of Dear Evan Hansen fame as the reporter attempting to expose the politician. No shade to Platt, but this isn’t exactly the casting we wanted to see, and Doolittle seems to feel the same.

In an interview with the Canadian PressRun This Town writer and director Ricky Tollman clarified that he wanted to create a “sympathetic portrait” of Ford, but the late Toronto mayor is not actually the focus of the film. The main storyline is instead based on Platt’s character, an young man attempting to break into the journalism industry in a post-recession economy. Tollman says that the movie is “an imagined story representing people that I know that have been trying to make their way in life in the footsteps of people who are much better at their jobs.”

Cool, but why not portray the real story, instead of just parts of it, with Doolittle’s *actual* kickass storyline?

During her time at the Toronto Star, Doolittle’s name became synonymous with the Ford family both because of her numerous in-depth stories and the 384-page portrait she penned, Crazy Town, which detailed Ford’s controversial (to say the least) rise to power. That’s right, she literally wrote the book on this dude and yet was seemingly written out of the film.

Yes, it was Gawker editor John Cook that first broke the story of the crack tape, and yes, Doolittle worked alongside senior investigative reporter and editor Kevin Donovan on the Star’s investigative team. We know stories of this magnitude and importance do not happen without the efforts of many people. But the fact that all these reporters are being combined into yet another narrative of an intrepid male journalist is just so disappointingly predictable.

Platt responded to Doolittle’s tweets explaining that the film won’t be focused on the team at the Toronto Star, but rather a fictionalized team of reporters at a rival paper. Tollman further elaborated to CP that Platt will be playing an intern trying to move up the ranks at a fictional newspaper. “This isn’t the Rob Ford story,” Tollman told CP.

Just to reiterate, Doolittle is a millennial involved in politics, journalism and reporting on the Rob Ford scandal, and if the former Toronto mayor is worthy of being represented in the film, why can’t we expect the same for her?

Maybe it’s because, as one particularly astute Twitter user pointed out, when we do see female journalists portrayed in films, they seem to share a common narrative. Not sure what it is? Think How to Lose a Guy in 10 DaysNever Been KissedHouse of Cards and more recently, Trainwreck. 

Other social media users, and some of Doolittle’s fellow journalists, also expressed their disappointment in the casting choice.

After the news went viral on social media, Platt posted a more thorough response to the backlash on Twitter.

Canadian actors Nina Dobrev and Mena Massoud, who is also starring in Disney’s live-action Aladdin, have reportedly also signed on to the film as Ford’s aides. According to THR, the film is currently shooting in Toronto until May, and it is unclear when it will be released. But tbh, if you want the real story of what went down, give Crazy Town another read.

Related: 

Robyn Doolittle on How She Made It as an Investigative Reporter
Reporter Robyn Doolittle Takes Us Behind the Scenes of “Unfounded”
Crack Reporter: The Scoop on Rob Ford From Robyn Doolittle