Netflix to Air Documentary on 'Extraordinary' Dan Rather, the 'True American Hero'

April 16th, 2024 10:36 PM

Dan Rather tweeted "I am humbled and honored to share some exciting news.  A lot of very talented people have produced a documentary about this reporter’s life." A puff piece movie honoring Rather with actors wasn't enough. Now there's a gushy Rather "nonfiction" film.

Variety's Michael Schneider set the stage: 

Netflix has set Rather, the documentary about veteran journalist Dan Rather‘s landmark career in news for an April 24 premiere on the streamer. The feature utilizes the story of Rather’s life on television to also explore the evolution of broadcast journalism, the troubles a free press now faces, along with the slide of American society from hard-fought advances in social justice and democratic freedoms. The doc first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last June.

Film producer and director Frank Marshall, who founded Amblin Entertainment with his wife Kathleen Kennedy and with Steven Spielberg, is at the helm:

“This is a very personal project for me,” Marshall said in a statement. “When you look at Dan’s body of work, it’s remarkable. The collection of stories he has covered, it’s my history too, and the history of our country over the past 60 years. I’ve always admired his passion, his intelligence, his humor and his commitment to the truth and it’s been an honor to get to know Dan and tell his extraordinary story.

Rather is set to appear at a screening in Austin at an Alamo Drafthouse there, and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League is also a huge Rather fan: 

“Watching Rather, I saw a North Star of what American journalism is meant to be, driven by a thirst for the truth and the desire to share that truth with the people,” League said. “We are honored to have the opportunity to screen this wonderful film and honor a true American hero.

This is the closest Variety came to Rather's fake-National-Guard-documents scandal, and it's not close: "With unrestricted access to Rather, the film takes on the highs and lows of his time at CBS News, including his controversial exit as CBS Evening News anchor." There was no mention of George W. Bush or the National Guard.

The IMDb page lists who will appear in the film, in addition to fiercely protective daughter Robin Rather: it's Samantha Bee, Douglas Brinkley, Andy Cohen, Mark Cuban, Soledad O'Brien, Shepard Smith, and Margaret Sullivan. Former CBS News colleagues Tom Bettag and Howard Stringer are also on the list. 

A Michael Schneider story from last year suggested in its headline that the film "Restores Some Justice to His Lengthy Career." A "brilliant career," oozed the subhead. It had more gush from Marshall about his "truth" telling.