Will Ferrell Backs Out of Ronald Reagan Alzheimer's Comedy
The Black List comedy dealt with Ronald Reagan's dementia.
Will Ferrell has backed out of a planned comedy that depicted Ronald Reagan's dementia.
The comedian was in talks to play the former president in a political satire that dealt with Reagan's Alzheimer’s condition, but will no longer be moving forward with the project amid the ensuing controversy.
Ferrell's spokesperson said that he was never officially attached: "The Reagan script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means an 'Alzheimer's comedy' as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project."
The logline for the project, via the Black List, reads: “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.”
Following reports that Ferrell was involved in the project, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis penned an open letter to Ferrell, writing, "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."
She continued: "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.'"
As well as starring in the film, Ferrell was also set to produce via his production banner Gary Sanchez Productions. The project, titled Reagan, was written by Mike Rosolio, and had been on the 2015 Black List of the best unproduced screenplays.
On Friday, the Alzheimer's Association criticized the planned project, stating: "Would filmmakers consider using a fatal form of cancer or another deadly disease for comedy? It's time to stop this forever." And the Republican party weighed in on the controversy:
Hollywood Liberals have no shame. There is nothing funny about Alzheimer's. We stand with the Reagan family: https://t.co/W0DYzon0Yh— GOP (@GOP) April 29, 2016