After a firestorm of outrage erupted over former SNL trouper Will Ferrell’s plan to play Ronald Reagan in a “comedy” about the late president being afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, the actor has decided to turn tail and run away from the toxic project as fast as possible.
In doing so, his PR team issued a statement worthy of any politician caught with his pants down.
The 48-year-old comic confirmed Friday that while he had seen the script and considered signing on to star in and produce “Reagan,” he was no longer going ahead with the project.
A spokesperson for Will said, “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.”
Who? What? Reagan? Alzheimer’s? Barely heard of it.
Well, that’s not what the trade papers were saying earlier.
Will Ferrell will play President Ronald Reagan in “Reagan,” a political satire written by Mike Rosolio, whose script was voted to the 2015 Black List of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplays.
Ferrell will produce under his Gary Sanchez Productions banner. The funnyman is no stranger to political comedies, having starred in “The Campaign” and “Dick.” He also played President George W. Bush on “Saturday Night Live” and the Broadway show “You’re Welcome America.”
There’s no director attached to “Reagan” yet, but the project has become a priority for Gary Sanchez.
Ferrell was not only pegged to play Reagan, he was going to produce the movie!
Liar liar pants on fire.
Part of what caused Ferrell to skedaddle was the powerful reaction from the Reagan family. Patti Davis, a liberal firebrand herself, laid into Ferrell on her website:
Alzheimer’s doesn’t care if you are President of the United States or a dockworker. It steals what is most precious to a human being — memories, connections, the familiar landmarks of a lifetime that we all come to rely on to hold our place secure in this world and keep us linked to those we have come to know and love. I watched as fear invaded my father’s eyes — this man who was never afraid of anything. I heard his voice tremble as he stood in the living room and said, “I don’t know where I am.” I watched helplessly as he reached for memories, for words, that were suddenly out of reach and moving farther away. For ten long years he drifted — past the memories that marked his life, past all that was familiar…and mercifully, finally past the fear.
There was laughter in those years, but there was never humor.
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.
Twice a week I run a support group called Beyond Alzheimer’s for caregivers and family members of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I look into haunted eyes that remind me of my own when my father was ill. I listen to stories of helplessness and loss and am continually moved by the bravery of those who wake up every morning not knowing who their loved one will be that day, or what will be lost. The only certainty with Alzheimer’s is that more will be lost and the disease will always win in the end.
Perhaps you would like to explain to them how this disease is suitable material for a comedy.
Game, set, match.
Someone should tell Ferrell that his actions in retreating from the project are far too little and far too late. Despite the efforts of his PR flaks to make it appear that Ferrell had little to do with the project, you don’t release info to the Hollywood trade press indicating you are going to star in and produce a film unless you not only intend to do so, but also probably already have some backers for such a project.
How far will a prominent liberal go in service to his ideology? Too far, in Ferrell’s case.