9:29am PT by Kate Stanhope
'Killing Reagan' Sets Tim Matheson and Cynthia Nixon as Presidential Couple
Killing Reagan has found its first couple.
Tim Matheson and Cynthia Nixon are set to play Ronald and Nancy Reagan for the National Geographic Channel movie, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Directed by Rod Lurie (The Contender), the two-hour TV movie is an adaptation of Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly's 2015 New York Times best-seller of the same name. The book and film both center on the events surrounding the 1981 shooting of Reagan by John Hinckley Jr., which left the life of the actor-turned-politician hanging in the balance.
Oscar-winning documentarian Eric Simonson penned the TV adaptation of the book, which is O'Reilly's latest in a series that includes Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy and Killing Jesus. Nat Geo has turned all three previous titles into TV movies and announced its plans to do the same with Killing Reagan a week after the book was released.
Scott Free Productions will produce the project, with Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker set as executive producers alongside O’Reilly and Mary Lisio. Clayton Krueger will serve as a co-executive producer.
“With this fourth installment of the highly successful Killing franchise, we are, along with our partners, Bill O’Reilly and Scott Free Productions, going to use the assassination attempt as a crucible to tell the fascinating and surprising story of Ronald Reagan and his lasting impact on the global stage,” said Nat Geo executive vp and head of global scripted development and production Carolyn Bernstein. “We’re thrilled to have Tim and Cynthia on board to bring this story to life during an unpredictable and historic election year.”
Added O'Reilly: “Even nearly 30 years after his presidency, and more than 10 years after his death, Ronald Reagan’s mark on American politics and the global geopolitical landscape, through both his actions and his policies, still reverberates today. There is much that can be learned by looking back at that riveting period in history.”
Matheson, whose recent TV credits include Hart of Dixie and Burn Notice, is best known for playing another political figure, fictional Vice President John Hoynes on The West Wing.
Nixon, an Emmy winner for her work on Sex and the City, also is known for her small-screen roles on Hannibal, The Big C and Alpha House.
Nat Geo's casting comes a week after a big-screen project about Reagan started a media firestorm. Will Ferrell was set to play the late commander-in-chief, who was in the White House from 1981-1989, but exited the role when questions arose about how the film would depict Reagan's battle with dementia. The former president died in 2004, while former first lady Nancy Reagan passed away in March.