Well, that was fast. Two days after Will Ferrell signed on to play President Ronald Reagan in a movie, Page Six reports that he’s pulled out of the project after negative backlash. Not a whole lot is known about what tone the film would take on, but the Black List script began “at the start of the ex-president’s second term when he falls into dementia and an ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the commander in chief that he is an actor playing the president in a movie.” Here’s what a rep for Ferrell told Page Six:
“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.”
The biggest complant about the project came from Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis, who wrote an open letter to Ferrell yesterday about the news:
Alzheimer’s is the ultimate pirate, pillaging a person’s life and leaving an empty landscape behind. It sweeps up entire families, forcing everyone to claw their way through overwhelming grief, confusion, helplessness, and anger. Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have — I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.
“There’s nothing funny about Alzheimer’s,” Davis told Page Six today. “It is terrifying for the families of those who suffer from it. They live with the fear [of] what will change next, they have to live with this terror and grief every day. 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.”
UPDATE: Read more about the script here.