Will Ferrell Withdraws from Reagan Alzheimer’s “Comedy”
Thursday, we blogged about actor Will Ferrell’s reported plans to play Ronald Reagan in a “comedy” about Reagan’s Alzheimer’s plight.
Despite movie media reporting to the contrary, Reagan wasn’t diagnosed with Alzheimer’s until after he left the White House.
President Reagan’s daughter and son both spoke about against plans to make film. Patti Davis, daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan blogged:
Perhaps you have managed to retain some ignorance about Alzheimer’s and other versions of dementia. Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous.
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.
But Reagan’s portrayal is less the point than the mockery of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
As Davis mentioned, nothing about either disease is humorous.
They destroy the dignity of those afflicted and leave the end of their lives a frustrating, difficult mess. I cared for my Grandmother at the end of her life and watched as a strong, feisty, broad struggled to remember what she’d said thirty minutes prior, which family members were still alive, and what year it was because of dementia. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying, but there is nothing funny or joyful about watching a loved one spend their last days without knowledge of who they are. It’s heartbreaking.
As I blogged Thursday, “I always object to the overly-politicized, outrage ALL the things life, but in this case, I’m going with “poor taste.””
Friday, Will Ferrell reportedly canceled plans to star as Ronald Reagan in the comedy.
Will Ferrell has backed out of a comedy about Ronald Reagan’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease amid outrage from the former president’s family.
The 48-year-old comic had seen the script for “Reagan” and considered staring and producing in the movie — but had a change of heart, a rep for Ferrell told Page Six exclusively Friday.
“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 an ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project,” the rep said.
The rep wouldn’t say whether the decision was a direct result of the outcry from Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis, who on Thursday called the movie “cruel” and Farrell “heartless.”
Regardless, I’m thankful Ferrell made the decision to withdraw from the Alzheimer’s “comedy.” I’m sure many others are as well.
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Family members get to laugh only because it is better than crying.
My mother went from being a smart, brash, somewhat cynical woman to a fearful, paranoid fabulist with almost no short term memory. She’d ask what day it was every three minutes. When she did remember the past, her role in it was always exaggerated, sometimes beyond recognition. Staff at the home she was in would ask me if her tales were true and I’d have to explain how they were all grounded in some true incident, now inflated. For example how being a clerk typist with a Top Secret clearance on General Hap Arnold’s staff for six weeks in February and March 1945 had somehow morphed into being FDRs private secretary during all of WWII. Before she had Alzheimer’s Mom would joke that at the time she didn’t see what was so top secret about endless lists of airplane parts, all to be typed in triplicate. A few months later she realized she and the other temporary clerk-typists brought in had typed all the details to the orders transferring men and material from Europe to the Pacific.
Perhaps the most painful thing to me was while once Mom had made wry fun of the people who were impressed by getting machine signed cards from politicians on a milestone birthday or anniversary, when she got 90th birthday cards from a couple of politicians, she began talking as if they were personal friends. By that time all the well known politicians she has known were dead.
“The 48-year-old comic had seen the script for “Reagan” and considered staring and producing in the movie — but had a change of heart, a rep for Ferrell told Page Six exclusively Friday.”
A back pedal statement if ever there was. It’s absurd to believe that statement to be true in light he already had committed to the decision to do the film as star and producer until the blow back proved how inept his decision was. His selection process shows up in the many films he did choose. It speaks more to his personal choices than his professional abilities. Perhaps he should go public sooner rather than later with all his other projects if wants to hold on to a lasting career stemming from SNL days where he had more ability to create than direct and select projects.
Well maybe he has at least one more brain cell than the two I usually credit him with.
Prediction: You will see this movie be made with a B-list actor and all the names stripped out of it (but the characteristics of Reagan intentionally left in). It will be flacked by Great Minds in the leftist community as being a Work Of Great Importance and a Great Comedy while treating the legacy of anybody to the right of Stalin as a buffoon and a fool. It will lose money like a sieve, but be a required addition to any up and coming Progressive’s DVD library, which will make it only marginally unprofitable. The director, producer, and actors will then be hired for additional films at several multiples of salary they received for this hack.
Hopefully Ferrell’s career takes the same trajectory as Pee Wee Herman or Michael Richards.