Will Ferrell and Adam McKay

A Look At Will Ferrell’s ‘Reagan’ Script Shows Alzheimer’s Would Have Been Handled Tastefully

The news that Will Ferrell would play American president Ronald Reagan, within two days time since it was announced, made headlines again with news that the comedic actor would end up backing out of the deal, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Those same reports say that this was due to the pressure from the Reagan family and others, who questioned the actor’s views on Alzheimer’s, which The Inquisitr also reported on.

Media sources reported that the script for a satirical comedy called Reagan would focus on the President’s second term as he showed signs of the debilitating disease.

The Reagans stand next to U.S.S. Ronald Reagan model, 1996
The Reagans stand before a model of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan two years after Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. [Image via Wikimedia| Public Domain]
But the Hollywood Reporter points out that, according to a rep for Will Ferrell, he had never officially finalized a deal to do the project and had only considered it.

“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.”

Thus far, the media has reported that the former President’s daughter, Patti Davis, wrote and published an open letter on her site addressed to Will Ferrell over his consideration, but she also told Page Six what she thought of it.

“There’s nothing funny about Alzheimer’s. 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.”

Hollywood Reporter got hold of the script, which they detail in their article as they wonder — in light of the backlash from the family — why the script was getting so much positive attention from producers if it had anything that was truly offensive.

The article does make clear that Will Ferrell’s production company — which is shared by award-winning writer Adam McKay — was also tied to the script.

Will Ferrell at a Sydney premiere for The Campaign 2012.
Will Ferrell during the Sydney premiere of The Campaign in 2012. [Image by Eva Rinaldi via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0]
Now that he’s reportedly backed out, it’s likely that his production company might have gone with him too.

But the article also seems to point out why the project would have been appropriate for the brand of comedy Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are known for, adding that the script is very smart.

“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.”

The main point of the article overall seems to be that the subject of Alzheimer’s is handled with care.

Among those in the family who publicly lashed out, some followed up with another response to the news that Will Farrell would not pursue the project.

Despite the fact that media sources have said that Will Ferrell backed out of the project because of the response from the Reagan family; another article by Page Six writes that they’ve tried to get confirmation from the Ferrell team to see if that was the case but have not received a response.

In one of the Hollywood Reporter articles previously referred to, the Alzheimer’s Association’s also had something to say about the initial news.

“Would filmmakers consider using a fatal form of cancer or another deadly disease for comedy? It’s time to stop this forever.”

Many sources have tried to clarify since Will Ferrell’s name was associated with the Reagan script that the president was not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s until 1994, long after he had completed his second term.

[Image by Victoria Will | Invision/AP Photo]

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