Ronald Reagan Biopic Casts Its Leonid Brezhnev (Exclusive)

AP Images
Robert Davi, left, and Leonid Brezhnev

The film is written by Howard Klausner, who wrote 'Space Cowboys' for Clint Eastwood.

A Ronald Reagan biopic in the works has cast perennial bad guy Robert Davi as former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

The $25 million independent film called Reagan tells the story of Reagan as a youngster, through his acting years and into his presidency. David Henrie, best known for starring opposite Selena Gomez in Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place, is playing Reagan in his teen years through his 20s.

The film is written by Howard Klausner, who wrote Space Cowboys for Clint Eastwood in 2000, and it is based on two bestselling books about the 40th president written by Paul Kengor.

In Reagan, the man's life is chronicled through the voice of a KGB agent who was assigned to follow Reagan from the early days of the Cold War, long before he was even elected president. The character is based on a composite of real-life Soviet agents who were told to keep tabs on the actor-politician due to his well-known opposition to Communism.

Brezhnev presided over the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death in 1982. Though he and Reagan never met, he wrote some 30 letters to the U.S. president.

"Reagan was an amazing man, but so was Brezhnev. For an actor, these are the kinds of challenges I relish," said Davi, who played the heavy in films like Goonies and License to Kill.

"It was important to us to have somebody with Robert's gravitas in this key role to highlight the formidable challenge that the Soviet Union posed to Reagan and America," said producer Mark Joseph.

Executive producing is Ralph Winter, who produced several X-Men and Fantastic Four movies and executive produced The Giver last year. Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight is also playing a role in Reagan.

London-based 4SquareFilms is representing Reagan at the Festival de Cannes, and it has sold in about two dozen countries thus far.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com 

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