Rob Ford film faces backlash for casting a male reporter over a female

Robyn Doolittle broke huge stories during the Ford era, but a male is playing the lead reporter in Run This Town.

Robyn Doolittle broke huge stories during the Ford era, but a male is playing the reporter in Run This Town.

An upcoming movie, Run This Town, is set during former Toronto mayor Rob Ford's controversial time in office. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

The female reporter who broke many of the biggest stories about former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, from his political life to his alcohol and drug use, is crying foul after the movie version of the story features a male reporter. 

Robyn Doolittle, who worked for the Toronto Star at the time but is now at the Globe and Mail, also penned a book about Ford called Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story, which became an instant bestseller after its 2014 release. 

"I'm glad they're rewriting the fact that it was a female reporter who investigated Rob Ford. Why have a woman be a lead character when a man could do it? Ammaright?" tweeted Doolittle in response to a Hollywood Reporter story that says the top-secret film, titled Run This Town, features a male reporter. 

In response, actor Ben Platt, who plays what he describes as "totally fictionalized character, an entitled, incapable entry-level reporter," tweeted back saying he has the "utmost respect" for Doolittle's work and that the film alludes to the Toronto Star's successful reporting. 

Doolittle then replied by pointing out that there is no shortage of films about reporters that feature men.

Update: Platt's tweets have since been deleted and replaced with a clarification that the drama is set in the Ford era, but that it's about "three fictional young people ... trying to find a place in the world of politics and journalism," and that no attempt is made to directly portray Doolittle.

The director of the film, Ricky Tollman, has also clarified that "this isn't the Rob Ford story." 

In Run This Town, Damian Lewis is playing Ford, who died in 2016 at the age of 46. Nina Dobrev and Mena Massoud play fictional aides who attempt to rein in Ford and keep the story out of the public eye. Other cast members include Scott Speedman and Jennifer Ehle.

Ford was mayor from 2010 to 2014, and during his term, a video surfaced of him smoking crack cocaine; another featured him intoxicated at a restaurant. At the same time the mayor had an enormous following, called "Ford Nation," who liked his outspoken style and conservative politics. 

There is currently no official release date for the film. 


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