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Actor Will Ferrell earned gratitude and praise after backing out of a proposed comedy film project.
Ferrell had considered producing and acting in a movie about Ronald Reagan and his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. But, amid backlash from the former president’s family and others, the 48-year-old actor had a change of heart, reported Page Six on Friday.
“The ‘Reagan’ script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered,” a representative for Ferrell said. “While it is by no means an ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.”
The film is set at the beginning of Reagan’s second presidential term as he is struck by dementia, reported Page Six. The comedy parts focus on the mix-ups encountered as the president deals with not remembering where he is to being convinced he is an actor playing the commander-in-chief in a movie.
Though the script was favorably received in Hollywood, the Reagan family lashed out at Ferrell for being insensitive with Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis even penning an open letter to the actor.
Davis applauded Ferrell’s decision to back out of the project.
“I am so relieved that Will has decided against this film. I can’t imagine that anybody else would sign onto it,” Davis said, according to Page Six. “I’ve been deluged with letters and personal stories from people who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, and those who have just been diagnosed themselves.It really showed how widespread this disease is and how it just devastates families. It is beyond the pale that anyone would make it a comedy about it.”
Reagan’s son Michael repeated Davis’ sentiments in a Twitter post.
Thankyou for taking the right path.If u want to know more about the decease contact myself or Patti. https://t.co/GGAVV8fyoR
— Michael Reagan (@ReaganWorld) April 29, 2016
Ferrell even received praise from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “While we have not seen the movie or the script, we can say with confidence that Alzheimer’s disease is not a laughing matter,” said the group’s president, said Charles Fuschillo, Jr. according to Page Six. “We are grateful to Mr. Ferrell for choosing not to pursue this film.”
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