Update: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Will Ferrell has backed out of the role of Ronald Reagan in the upcoming comedy about the former president’s dementia. A spokesperson for the actor said that Ferrell was never officially attached, but was just considering the role, and that he now is no longer pursuing the film. Ferrell’s production company Gary Sanchez Productions was also set to produce the film. Following the initial reports of Ferrell’s casting, Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis wrote an open letter to the actor criticizing his decision to star in the film, saying that dementia is not a subject suitable for comedy. The Alzheimer’s Association and the Republican Party also criticized the film.
Will Ferrell has had quite a busy year so far. He recently starred in “Zoolander 2,” produced the successful Melissa McCarthy vehicle “The Boss,” and is set to appear in the upcoming “Zeroville,” directed by James Franco. Now, Variety reports that Ferrell is set to play former President Ronald Reagan in a new movie from a highly-anticipated Black List script penned by Mike Rosolio. In fact, the script was so well liked that a live read was recently conducted in March starring Lena Dunham and John Cho. The film follows President Reagan at the beginning of his second term just as he falls into dementia and the ambitious intern tasked to convince him that he’s an actor playing the president in a movie.
Will Ferrell is no stranger to political material. He played former President George W. Bush numerous times on “Saturday Night Live,” as well as reprising the character for a one-man Broadway show entitled “You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush.” He also acted opposite Zach Galifianakis in “The Campaign” in a political comedy about two North Carolinians vying for a seat in Congress.
Ferrell will produce the film under his company Gary Sanchez Productions. The film is currently without a director or a complete cast, and as a result, it has no set release date.