Despite reports that Will Ferrell was set to star in a film revolving around Ronald Reagan as he suffered from dementia, EW has confirmed the actor will not move forward with the project.
Sources close to Ferrell tell EW the 48-year old had “nothing to sign on to,” and was never formally attached to star in the planned film, as the production hadn’t secured financing, a director or a distributor.
“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,” a spokesman for the actor said in a statement.
The script for the political satire, titled Reagan, was included on December’s Black List, an annual report detailing Hollywood’s most popular unproduced screenplays. The plot revolves around a White House intern who convinces Reagan he is playing the president in a movie after he enters his second term with dementia.
Following news that Ferrell was set to play the former commander-in-chief in what was initially reported to be a comedy, Patti Davis, Reagan’s daughter, told Page Six, “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.”
Davis’ brother Michael Reagan, tweeted about the film’s subject, writing “#Alzheimers is not a comedy to the 5 million people who are suffering with the decease, it first robs you of your mind and then it kills you.” He later tweeted praise for Ferrell’s decision to walk away from the film: “Thank you for taking the right path. If you want to know more about the decease contact myself or Patti.”
Sources also tell EW that Ferrell would “never” sign on to a project that makes fun of a disease like Alzheimer’s. The former president died in 2004 at age 93 from pneumonia and Alzheimer’s-related complications.