Will Ferrell has reportedly backed out of the upcoming Ronald Reagan “dementia comedy” after receiving blistering criticism from the families of Alzheimer’s sufferers, including Ronald Reagan’s children, who only recently lost their mother Nancy Reagan.
As Inquisitr and other outlets have reported, Will Ferrell was attached to star as President Ronald Reagan in the upcoming comedy-drama, but after a massive backlash it appears that Ferrell has responded to critics – and the Reagan family – and backed out of the Reagan film.
“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,” said a spokesperson for Will Ferrell today.
The Reagan film itself was set to star Will Ferrell in a comedic role, featuring the fictional onset of Ronald Reagan’s dementia during his second term in office, and a clever young staffer who is tasked with convincing President Reagan that he’s playing the President in a movie. As Reagan slips further into Alzheimer’s disease and begins to lose his memory, he recalls his earlier days as a Hollywood actor. The plot of the film has been called”distasteful” by many commentators, including the Reagan family, reports Fox News.
“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,” said Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter.
Earlier this week, Page Six reported that Will Ferrell was set to star in the film based on an acclaimed “Black List” script – a list of the year’s best unproduced screenplays. Almost immediately, however, Alzheimer’s advocates slammed the film as insensitive, disrespectful, and distasteful, not only for its portrayal of President Reagan as he endured the throes of dementia, but because of its usage of Alzheimer’s disease as a comedic device. The New York Post ran a front page story stating that the upcoming Reagan film would “play Alzheimer’s for laughs.”
After the announcement of Will Ferrell’s attachment to the Ronald Reagan “dementia comedy” the former president’s family came out against the film. Patti Davis, and Michael Reagan vented their frustration online. Davis wrote an open letter to Will Ferrell, imploring him not to star in the “Alzheimer’s comedy.”
“Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous. Alzheimer’s steals what is most precious to a human being – memories, connections, the familiar landmarks of a lifetime. I watched as fear invaded my father’s eyes. I heard his voice tremble as he stood in the living room and said ‘I don’t know where I am,'” wrote Patti Davis in her open letter to Will Ferrell.
Representatives for Will Ferrell didn’t comment on whether or not his decision to drop out of the Reagan “dementia comedy” was the result of public outcry, or even due to the Reagan family’s objections to film. After the news broke this morning, the Reagan family once again spoke out, this time in support of Will Ferrell’s decision, thanking the comedic actor for “taking the right path” and dropping out of the “Alzheimer’s comedy,” Reagan.
“I am so relieved that Will has decided against this film. I can’t imagine that anybody else would sign onto it,” Patti Davis told Page Six today.
[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]