Will Ferrell is no stranger to political humor having portrayed former President Bush on Saturday Night Live and on Broadway in the play You’re Welcome America.
Just days after it was announced Will Ferrell would play Ronald Reagan in a new comedy, the actor has dropped out of the project following public outcry.
The former president’s supporters and his children, Patti Davis and Michael Reagan, voiced their criticism following the announcement that the film would focus on Reagan succumbing to Alzheimer’s-induced dementia while in office.
The screenplay opens at the start of Reagan’s second term when he falls into dementia. An intern’s job is to convince the President that he is an actor playing the president in a movie.
The Alzheimer’s Association released a statement slamming a movie that would make light of the disease.
“The Alzheimer’s Association is appalled that anyone would plan to develop a film that satirizes an individual living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia,” the organization said in a statement. “Would filmmakers consider using a fatal form of cancer or another deadly disease for comedy? It’s time to stop this forever.”
The outcry was instant with Ronald Reagan’s son, Michael Reagan. Via Twitter he said those involved “should be ashamed” and that “Alzheimer is not a comedy.”
#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
— Michael Reagan (@ReaganWorld) April 29, 2016
Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis slammed the film in an open letter posted to The Daily Beast.
“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,’” she wrote. “There was laughter in those years, but there was never humor.”
What are your thoughts on Will Ferrell pulling out of this movie: is there a place for a comedy about Alzheimer’s disease?