Will Ferrell has long been known as the nation’s foremost impersonator of George W. Bush (sorry, Josh Brolin), and now it looks like he has another former U.S. president in his sights: Ronald Reagan. As Variety reports, Ferrell is attached to star as The Gipper himself in Reagan, a political comedy based on a script penned by Mike Rosolio.
Update – Friday, April 29th at 12:50 p.m. CT: Amid growing controversy, Ferrell has backed out of the project, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “The Reagan script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered,” said his spokesperson in a statement. “While it is by no means a ‘Alzheimers comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.”
Buzz around Rosolio’s script has been high since it landed on the Black List, an annual list of Hollywood’s “most liked” unproduced screenplays, in December 2015. Far from a reverent look back on Reagan’s legacy, the film focuses on the comedic potential of his much-publicized dementia. According to the Black List logline, “When Ronald Reagan falls into dementia at the start of his second term, an ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the commander in chief that he is an actor playing the president in a movie.”
Following not long after the death of former First Lady Nancy Reagan in March, the film is sure to draw plenty of detractors (much like the Reagans themselves, but hey, no matter). Besides, Ferrell is no stranger to political controversy, having starred as Bush for years on Saturday Night Live and played the insufferable incumbent Congressman Cam Brady in 2012’s The Campaign.
Ferrell will produce Reagan along with production banner Gary Sanchez Productions. No director is currently attached to the film, but it will soon be shopped to studios.