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Voight, perhaps the most prominent and outspoken conservative in Hollywood, would play a Soviet KGB agent whose job it was to track Reagan, the 40th U.S. president who is largely considered a hero of the Republican party.
The movie is based on The Crusader and God & Ronald Reagan, two books by Paul Kengor. The story unfolds as a young Russian leader visits a retired agent named Viktor – the character Voight is negotiating to play – so that he may learn of the demise of the Soviet Union.
“Viktor is actually a character based on a number of KGB agents and Soviet analysts who we now know were tasked with keeping tabs on Ronald Reagan for many years,” Kengor said. “This is a feature film and not a documentary and I thought it was a smart way for the producers to keep the integrity of the story and yet make it entertaining.”
The $35 million independent movie is being written by Jonas McCord (The Young Riders, The Body) and Howie Klausner (Space Cowboys). It is produced by Ralph Winter, who was behind the 2000-06 X-Men films, along with Mark Joseph, who produced the indie film Doonby in 2010 and was a marketing executive on such films as The Passion of the Christ, Holes and Ray.
The former U.S. president is a fairly hot commodity in Hollywood nowadays, with multiple projects in the works that will feature Reagan. The Butler, for example, has already generated controversy for casting liberal activist Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan while Alan Rickman plays Ronald Reagan. The Weinstein Co. film is expected to open in 2013.
Reykjavic from Participant Media will feature Michael Douglas, also a liberal activist, as Reagan. Participant has backed several politically-charged movies, including Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and former Vice President Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.
Perhaps the best-known treatment of Reagan was in 2003 when James Brolin portrayed him in the Showtime miniseries, The Reagans, largely perceived to be a negative take on his presidency.
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