Ronald Reagan's Daughter Criticizes Will Ferrell Over Planned Alzheimer's Comedy
"Perhaps you would like to explain to [dementia sufferers] how this disease is suitable material for a comedy," Patti Davis wrote on her blog.
Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan's daughter, criticized Will Ferrell for planning to play her late father in an upcoming comedy that apparently deals with the former president's Alzheimer’s condition.
"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," Davis wrote on her books blog in an open letter to the comic actor.
Reagan's daughter insisted she saw no humor as her father endured dementia before his death. "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,'" she wrote.
"I watched helplessly as he reached for memories, for words, that were suddenly out of reach and moving farther away," Davis added. Ferrell, who has already portrayed President George W. Bush in skits and onstage, is attached to star in and produce Reagan, a Black List script by Mike Rosolio.
Ferrell will produce via his production banner Gary Sanchez Productions. The logline, via the Black List, describes the story as: “When Ronald Reagan falls into dementia at the start of his second term, an ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the Commander-in-Chief that he is an actor playing the President in a movie.”
Davis ventured Ferrell may visit a dementia facility to research his upcoming role. "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," she wrote.
Davis added she runs a support group, Beyond Alzheimer’s, for caregivers and family members of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. "I look into haunted eyes that remind me of my own when my father was ill. … The only certainty with Alzheimer’s is that more will be lost and the disease will always win in the end," she wrote.