A Rob Ford Movie: Maybe Not The Worst Idea?

So, this is like the most lukewarm hot take ever because the LMCC took over my life, and also the actual subject, but let’s do this thing.  2 weeks ago I was browsing Tumblr and came across this linked article:

photo for wordpress

So, some context.  Most people who lived at least in the West and enjoyed late night tv probably remember the name Rob Ford.  Rob Ford was the Mayor of Toronto, Canada’s most populated city, from 2010-2014.  If you’re not likely from Ontario, you remember Rob Ford for this:

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Or some variation on “Rob Ford, Crack Smoking Mayor.” I’d like to mention the elephant in the room right off the bat: Ford died in 2016 after a short battle with an aggressive cancer at the age of 46.  So, while I’m not going to be overly complementary about his term as mayor here (at best subpar, at worst incompetent), I would like to say I am sorry for his family and their loss, and I never wished or would wish him any ill will personally.  And while his death doesn’t excuse his behaviour or his scandal as mayor, it does make this subject a little thornier to discuss, so I’m going to aim for respect whenever possible (though I’m very much hoping that Doug Ford, his even worse brother does not get elected to be Ontario’s premiere this summer).

But yes, in the early 2010’s Toronto scored a major scandal when the now defunct Gawker posted, trying to crowd fund to pay $100 thousand dollars for a video of Rob Ford, then the mayor of Toronto, smoking crack cocaine with drug dealers and gang members.  The news obviously took off with the late night talk show crowd, and Ford’s behaviour only fuelled the flames, as he managed to answer every single question thrown at him in the worst way possible.

I miss Jon Stewart.

But yes, Canada – known world wide for being polite and cold and really boring – finally had a real political scandal, and a juicy one at that.  But the scandal, like most do, burned itself out rather quickly: the video surfaced in a police raid (turns out Ford had managed to smoke crack with drug dealers under constant surveillance by the police for gang activity, who knew), Ford was mostly stripped of his political power, lost his re-election and then, as mentioned, sadly lost his battle to cancer.  And again, if you’re not from Ontario, that, if that, is probably all you know about Rob Ford.  And so, when faced with the headline above, or one such as this:

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Always classy, TMZ

You were probably most likely to react like this:

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And honestly, I…disagree? But I’ll get to that in a minute, I promise.

Now, the obvious discourse on Tumblr was the implication that Robyn Doolittle, the female reporter who wrote Crazy Town, the book on the Ford family and scandal and was one of the lead reporter’s at the Toronto Star on the Rob Ford affair, had been recast as a man in the upcoming Rob Ford movie Run This Town.  This was a pretty damning accusation of sexism if it had been true, and Doolittle herself clearly was a little ticked off.

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So Ben Platt (of the Dear Evan Hansen fame), the man cast in the movie in the supposed role, was quick to clarify that:

“I play a totally fictionalized character, an entitled, incapable entry-level reporter (my boss is played by Jennifer Ehle) at a fictional competing newspaper. The film alludes to the successful reporting from the Toronto Star.

To reiterate, the film is a completely fictional drama with several storylines exploring the millennial generation & their involvement in politics & journalism, the Rob Ford scandal serves as the platform.”

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