UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: Will Ferrell pulled out of a comedy portraying Ronald Reagan’s battle with Alzheimer’s after the former president’s daughter published a scathing letter to the actor.
Ferrell announced Friday that he would no longer be starring in the film as previously planned.
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"The ‘Reagan’ script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered," a spokesperson for Ferrell told Page Six. "While it is by no means an ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project."
Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis slammed Will Ferrell after news broke that the actor would be portraying the former president’s battle with Alzheimers in a comedic film.
Davis hit Ferrell for his "ignorance" to Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia in an open letter posted to her site Thursday evening. She urged the actor to educate himself on the disease, writing, "Perhaps if you knew more you wouldn’t find the subject humorous."
"I watched as fear invaded my father’s eyes—this man who was never afraid of anything," she wrote. "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."
Ferrell will star as the U.S.’s 40th president in his upcoming film, "Reagan." The movie will aim to present a comedic take on Reagan’s second term when the president became gripped by dementia.
Davis said the disease is anything but humorous.
"Alzheimer’s is the ultimate pirate, pillaging a person’s life and leaving an empty landscape behind. It sweeps up entire families, forcing everyone to claw their way through overwhelming grief, confusion, helplessness, and anger," she wrote. "Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either."
Reagan died in June 2004 after a nearly decade-long battle with the disease.