Behold, the power of social media.
As was reported earlier this week, so-so comedic actor, Will Ferrell, was slated to star in a “comedy” as President Ronald Reagan, with an emphasis on Reagan’s battle with Alzheimer’s.
The movie was set to take place during Reagan’s second term.
And former Reagan staffer James Rosebush told “Fox & Friends” that Reagan did not suffer from Alzheimer’s in his second term, and the movie was “an egregious attempt to rewrite presidential history, which to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, ‘will fall on the ash heap of history.’”
Word of the movie caused outrage across social media, not just for those who saw it as an attack on the honor of President Reagan, but also by those who are dealing with the tragedy of Alzheimer’s and dementia in their own families.
On a personal note, my own father is in the early stages of dementia. He began showing the symptoms last Summer. I’m watching the first male role model in my life and the man I saw as invincible disappear, a piece at a time. The memories… the personality… the vitality… Bit by bit, he’s slipping away.
It is a long, slow good-bye, and there’s not a damn thing funny about it.
Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, wrote an open letter to Ferrell on her website, which read in part:
“Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous. Alzheimer’s … steals what is most precious to a human being — memories, connections, the familiar landmarks of a lifetime … 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.’”
Reagan’s son, Michael Reagan, tweeted out:
“#Alzheimers is not a comedy to the 5 million people who are suffering with the disease, it first robs you of your mind and then it kills you.”
Whether it was the outcry from Reagan’s family and advocates for Alzheimer’s on social media or whether it was his own conscience kicking in, reports today are that Ferrell has pulled out of the project.
The 48-year-old comic confirmed Friday that while he had seen the script and considered signing on to star in and produce “Reagan,” he was no longer going ahead with the project.
A spokesperson for Will said, “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 a ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.”
Good call, Mr. Ferrell.