Entertainment

Will Ferrell to Play Reagan — with Dementia

Michael Reagan, Patti Davis, and many others are outraged

If ever there seemed to be a bad idea from the outset, this is it. Variety is reporting that Will Ferrell is attached to star as Ronald Reagan in a script for a film titled, simply, “Reagan.”

That might not be such a big deal, but Variety says the film, penned by Mike Rosolio, begins “at the start of the ex-president’s second term when he falls into dementia and an ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the commander-in-chief that he is an actor playing the president in a movie.”

Readers immediately blasted the idea, commenting on Variety’s story with remarks such as:

“Tell me what’s freakin funny about Alzheimer’s???!!!”

and:

“Find it to be in very poor taste. He was our President who suffered a horrific disease. Dementia is a fatal monster of a disease destroying and breaking so many families. It would equal a piece mocking Michael J. Fox and Parkinson’s disease … pretty disturbing.”

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and:

“Obviously they’re not interested in profit when their idea will alienate half the country. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s, and it wasn’t funny. Thanks, Hollywood, for making it so easy to quit you. Interesting that this got the green light after Nancy Reagan’s death. Classy!”

Even more important, Michael Reagan, 71, son of the late president, condemned the film in a series of tweets, saying “Alzheimer’s [disease] is not a comedy” and calling it an “outrage.”

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Patti Davis, daughter of the late president and wife Nancy, is also offended by the idea. She penned an open letter to Ferrell and posted it on her website, BooksbyPattiDavis.com. She writes to the actor, saying that if he knew anything about the disease, he wouldn’t find it funny.

“Alzheimer’s is the ultimate pirate, pillaging a person’s life and leaving an empty landscape behind. It sweeps up entire families, forcing everyone to claw their way through overwhelming grief, confusion, helplessness, and anger. Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities,” she says. “I have — I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.”

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While everyone else on the planet seems to see how offensive the film’s premise is, Variety reports that the script “was so popular following its announcement on the Black List, an annual catalog of the top unproduced scripts in Hollywood, that a live read was done recently done in March starring Lena Dunham and John Cho.”

Films including “Argo,” “Spotlight,” and “The King’s Speech” are all from the Black List, according to CinemaBlend.com, which notes: “‘Reagan’ will more than likely be a controversial film in the future.”

It’s safe to say it already is.

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