(NEW YORK) — Ronald Reagan’s family is upset over a planned comedy that will star Will Ferrell as the former president.
It was reported this week that Ferrell had been cast in Reagan. The story will begin at the start of Reagan’s second term, when he falls into dementia and an intern must convince him he’s an actor playing the president in a movie. Ferrell will also produce the project.
Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s disease after his presidency, and died in 2004.
Reagan’s oldest son, Michael Reagan, reacted to the Ferrell news on Thursday, tweeting, “Alheimers is not a comedy it robs you then it kills you.”
Reagan’s daughter and Michael’s half-sister, author Patti Davis, posted an open letter on her website, writing to Ferrell, “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.”
She recalled, “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.
“There was laughter in those years, but there was never humor,” she added.
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