Will Ferrell Abandons Ronald Reagan Comedy After Complaints from Family, Activists
After poking fun at George W. Bush for years, Will Ferrell had been attached to play another president, Ronald Reagan, in a comedy set in the White House years when the commander-in-chief was sinking into dementia.
But after protests by Reagan’s children that there was nothing funny about Alzheimer’s disease, Ferrell withdrew from the movie project.
“The Reagan script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered,” the actor’s spokesman said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “While it is by no means an ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.”
Will Ferrell Ronald Reagan Comedy Was To Have Based on Hot Hollywood Screenplay
Called “Reagan,” the film tells the story of an ambitious intern who has to convince the declining Reagan that he’s an actor playing the president in a movie, Variety reported.
Written by Mike Rosolio, the script was considered one of the hottest properties in Hollywood, part of the so-called Black List of the top unproduced screenplays. In March, Josh Brolin played Reagan in a staged a live reading that also featured Lena Dunham and John Cho. Ferrell was to be one of the producers of the movie.
Ronald Reagan Family Members Protested Will Ferrell Movie
The announcement about the movie drew the ire of activists and Reagan family member members.
“The Alzheimer’s Association is appalled that anyone would plan to develop a film that satirizes an individual living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Would filmmakers consider using a fatal form of cancer or another deadly disease for comedy? It’s time to stop this forever,” a spokesperson for the Chicago-based group told TheWrap.
Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, wrote an open letter to Ferrell, posted on TheDailyBeast, urging him to reconsider.
“Perhaps you have managed to retain some ignorance about Alzheimer’s and other versions of dementia,” she wrote. “Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous.”
Reagan’s son — and Patti’s half-brother — Michael Reagan, who initially reacted by tweeting, “Alzheimers is not a comedy it robs you then it kills you,” lauded Ferrell for dropping out of the project.