That Will Ferrell Comedy About Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s Won’t Be Happening
Comedian Will Ferrell has officially pulled out of a project that would satirize former President Ronald Reagan’s last years in office. The project allegedly features Reagan suffering from dementia while still in office, and Ferrell has received significant criticism for signing on to the project in the first place.
The controversy began after news broke that Ferrell had apparently optioned the comedy, but after the onslaught of criticism, Ferrell made it clear that he wasn’t going to move forward with the project. According to Ferrell’s spokesperson:
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 a ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.
Some of the criticism came from Reagan’s children Patti Davis and Michael Reagan, who stated “Alzheimer’s isn’t a joke” and called the movie cruel. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation also put out a statement, and the Alzheimer’s Association reportedly said it was “appalled” at the project.
A movie about Reagan’s Alzheimer’s does sound like it could be in bad taste, however the Hollywood Reporter obtained a copy of the script, and reporter Seth Abramovitch stated:
Most of the criticism seems to have come from people who had only read the log line, not the script. THR obtained a copy of Reagan to see what Rosolio intended.
It turns out Reagan is actually a good-natured and well-researched comedy that offers an ‘alternate take’ on seismic events in American history — a direct descendent of 1999’s Dick, in which Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams play ditzy teens who unwittingly bring down Richard Nixon.
But it does revolve around the conceit that the 40th president had no knowledge of where he was or what he was doing throughout his entire second term.
Given the outpouring of controversy, it’s doubtful that this project will ever see the light of the day, but we’ll have to see if anyone else in Hollywood is willing to take the risk.