Days after announcing his attachment to play Ronald Reagan in a new comedy, Will Ferrell has dropped out of the project following public outcry.
Variety first reported the news that Ferrell would play former president in “Reagan.”
Reagan’s supporters and his children Patti Davis and Michael Reagan voiced their criticism following the announcement that the film would focus on Regan succumbing to Alzheimer’s-induced dementia while in office.
The Alzheimer’s Association released a statement on Friday, voicing their disdain at the idea that the comedy could make light of the serious illness.
“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 statement said. “Would filmmakers consider using a fatal form of cancer or another deadly disease for comedy? It’s time to stop this forever.”
Penned by Mike Rosolio, the story begins at the start of the then-president’s second term when he falls into dementia. An ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the commander-in-chief that he is an actor playing the president in a movie.
The script had already drawn attention from the industry after it was featured on the Blacklist and given a live read last month featuring Lena Dunham and John Cho.
The outcry was instant with Michael Reagan tweeting about how those involved “should be ashamed” and that “Alzheimer is not a comedy.” The Reagan foundation also issued a statement asserting their displeasure with Ferrell’s involvement. Alzheimer’s “first robs you of your mind and then it kills you,” he wrote.
The film did not yet have a studio or financier involved and it is unknown now whether the project will move forward.