When news broke last month that Will Ferrell would be playing an Alzheimer’s-stricken Ronald Reagan in a comedy produced by Adam McKay — which follows an intern tasked with convincing Reagan that he’s actually an actor playing the president in a movie — the backlash was swift, most notably from Reagan’s own family. The negative traction was enough for Ferrell to back out of the project two days later, and McKay soon followed suit, although the script was perceived by industry insiders to be a lot more “safe” and “kind” than what was reported. Speaking for the first time about the film, McKay expressed genuine surprise over the controversy that ensued.
“We were all taken aback,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was weird. It seemed like everyone piled on it without knowing at all what the script was about. The reason we even looked at the script is because it’s actually really thoughtful and it had some sensitivity to the subject.” It’s now doubtful that the Mike Rosolio–penned film will ever make its way to the big screen. “It was honestly not even a project we had set up; it didn’t even have a director,” McKay continued. “It’s just something we were looking at. Then all of a sudden it just steamrolled. You know, the press is a beast.” Sorry, Adam.