Will Ferrell Isn't Going to Play Ronald Reagan in a Movie, After All

"While it is by no means a 'Alzheimer's comedy' as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project."

by Lincoln Michel
Apr 29 2016, 8:22pm

Photo via Flickr user Eva Rinaldi

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Will Ferrell—the comedian famous for playing George W. Bush on Saturday Night Live—has backed out of a so-called dementia comedy about Ronald Reagan only days after it was announced, Variety reports.

The Reagan script, Variety says, takes place "at the start of the then-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."

The Alzheimer's yuks concept understandably upset the former president's surviving family. Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis, posted an open letter to Ferrell on the Daily Beast, writing, "Perhaps you have managed to retain some ignorance about Alzheimer's and other versions of dementia. Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous."

Reagan's son, Michael, also tweeted out his disapproval.

Following the public outcry, a Will Ferrell spokesperson said the Mike Rosolio–penned comedy was being inaccurately portrayed—but that Ferrell was nevertheless not doing the film. "While it is by no means an 'Alzheimer's comedy' as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project," the spokesman said, according to Page Six.

While there are plenty of things to critique and satirize Reagan over—from an administration utterly plagued with corruption and scandals to his voodoo economics that ballooned the debt and caused damage for generations—a horrifying disease that affects millions around the country probably isn't the best subject for a goofy comedy.

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