Will Ferrell signed on to both produce the comedy “Reagan” and play the former president in his waning years. The movie was reportedly an “alternate take” on history, set at the beginning of Reagan’s second term when he was struck by Alzheimer’s. The script was popular in Hollywood, even drawing several famous actors — including James Brolin and John Cho — to a reading in March 2016. However, Reagan’s family was infuriated by the comedy and criticized Ferrell publicly for taking on the role.
“There’s nothing funny about Alzheimer’s. It is terrifying for the families of those who suffer from it,” Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis told Page Six. “This movie is cruel, not just to my father, but to the millions of people who have the disease, and the millions more who care for them and watch them suffer every day.” Her brother, Michael Reagan, concurred, posting, “Alzheimer’s is not a comedy to the 5 million people who are suffering with the disease.”
While it’s not clear if it was the outcry or something else that did it, Ferrell dropped out of the movie shortly after his involvement was announced. “We are grateful to Mr. Ferrell for choosing not to pursue this film,” Charles Fuschillo, Jr., president of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, stated to Page Six. Davis added, “I am so relieved that Will has decided against this film. I can’t imagine that anybody else would sign onto it.” Given that no one has heard anything else about this movie since, her statement seems correct.