Will Ferrell will not be playing Ronald Reagan in a planned film comedy about the former president’s dementia.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor, who was in talks to play Reagan, is no longer moving forward with the project following controversy and outrage on social media sites about the movie.
“The Reagan script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means an ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project,” his spokesman said in a statement, adding that Ferrell was never officially attached to the project. Ferrell also had been reported as a producer of the film.
Following news of Ferrell’s involvement with the movie, Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis penned an open letter to the actor, writing, “Perhaps you have managed to retain some ignorance about Alzheimer’s and other versions of dementia. Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous. . . . I watched as fear invaded my father’s eyes — this man who was never afraid of anything. I heard his voice tremble as he stood in the living room and said, ‘I don’t know where I am.’ ”
Davis’ half-brother Michael Reagan tweeted: “What an Outrag . . . Alzheimers is not joke . . . It kills . . . You should be ashamed all of you.”
The premise for the film, according to the Black List website aimed at script buyers and representatives and screenwriters, is that an intern is given the task of making Reagan believe that he is playing the role of president in a movie as he lapses into dementia during his second term in the White House.
The movie also drew fire on Friday from the Alzheimer’s Association, which released the following statement: “Would filmmakers consider using a fatal form of cancer or another deadly disease for comedy? It’s time to stop this forever.”