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Michael Douglas To Play Ronald Reagan In Former Ridley Scott Project ‘Reykjavik,’ Mike Newell Now Directing

Michael Douglas To Play Ronald Reagan In Former Ridley Scott Project 'Reykjavik,' Mike Newell Now Directing

The Hollywood Reporter reevals that famously liberal actor Michael Douglas will play famously conservative president Ronald Regan in “Reykjavik,” a Cold War drama once being eyed as a potential directing vehicle for Ridley Scott. Scott is still involved in the project, but will serve as a producer through his Scott Free banner. Mike Newell, who directed “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and a new version of “Great Expectations” that is debuting at Toronto in a couple of weeks, is in talks to helm the film.

“Reykjavik,” with a script by British playwright Kevin Hood (he also wrote marginal literary/historical drama “Becoming Jane“), concerns a few crucial days in 1986 when Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in a spa in the titular Icelandic capital to talk about peace between America and the Soviet Union. This conversation happened shortly after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. If done properly, this sounds like it could be a taut “Frost/Nixon“-style character piece. Except, you know, on the brink of nuclear war.

The search is currently on for who will play Gorbachev, and preliminary calls have been placed to Rick Baker to recreate that birthmark on Gorbachev’s head (okay, that last part we made up). The film is being co-produced by Scott’s producing partner David W. Zucker, as well as Mark Sennet and Stewart Mackinnon. The $10 million film will be financed by Participant Media, the socially conscious group that has backed everything from Al Gore environmental documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” to more popcorn fare like the remake of “The Crazies” and Steven Soderbergh‘s humanist horror epic “Contagion.”

Douglas seems to be on a bit of a career upswing, having co-starred in Soderbergh’s terrific spy thriller “Haywire” earlier this year, as well as high-profile roles in Soderbergh’s upcoming Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra” (where he plays the flamboyant singer) as well as the old dudes version of “The Hangover,” “Last Vegas.” What’s even more impressive is how close Douglas came to packing it in after he was diagnosed with throat cancer a few years ago. Not only was he almost done with acting, he could have lost his life. Now he’s back, and better than ever.

Seeing as the movie is relatively simple and low-cost, we could see, if they secure their Gorbachev soon and start filming soon after, this thing being Oscar bait for next year.  

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Brandt Hardin

Reagan has a legacy so distorted by the Conservative idolization of him that we may never have a clear picture of the real man behind the television set beyond the elaborate myth now concocted around him. Did he really rid the world of commie scum? Did destroy or save our economy? Check out my portrait of The Gipper and help me figure it out on my artist’s blog at with some Cold War Hollywood!


Didn't Newell direct 'Amazing Grace and Chuck' back in the 80s? Kinda coming full circle in a way, making another nuclear weapons flick.


i've reread the title of this article four times and still cannot make heads or tails of it.

Kevin Klawitter

Michael Nyqvist as Gorbie?

On a similar note, what do you think will anger conservatives more, Douglas as Ronald Reagan in this, or Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan in "The Butler"? Of course, having Severus Snape playing Ronald Reagan in that movie can't exactly be comforting to them, either.

I really doubt either portrayal will be explicitly political, in that neither (Particularly in "The Butler) will try to pass judgement on the President's political strategy through hindsight, but they're sure to be fascinating nonetheless.

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