Will Ferrell, who memorably played George W. Bush on Saturday Night Live, is slated to play Ronald Reagan in a new comedy – but the former U.S. president’s kids are less than enthusiastic about the project.

Ronald Reagan Movie

Ferrell has been tapped to play Reagan towards the end of his presidency and in the early days of his battle against Alzheimer’s disease. Written by Mike Rosolio, the Black List scrip Reagan tells the fictional story of a White House intern who has the difficult job of minding the president as he slips into dementia. Chief among his duties is convincing Reagan to believe that he is playing the president in a movie.

As of yet, Reagan does not have a director attached.

Upon learning of the movie, Reagan’s children have voiced their disapproval. His daughter Patti Davis wrote an open letter to Ferrell, urging him to educate himself about Alzheimer’s disease and to rethink his involvement in the project.

“I saw the news bulletin — as did everyone — that you intend to portray my father in the throes of Alzheimer’s for a comedy that you are also producing. Perhaps you have managed to retain some ignorance about Alzheimer’s and other versions of dementia,” Davis wrote. “Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous.”

“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,” she went on. “For ten long years he drifted — past the memories that marked his life, past all that was familiar…and mercifully, finally past the fear.”

Michael Reagan took to Twitter with similar sentiments to his sister, writing, “#Alzheimers is not a comedy to the 5 million people who are suffering with the decease,it first robs you of your mind and then it kills you.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Matthew Belloni, Reagan wouldn’t be the slapstick, goofball comedy that people have come to expect from Ferrell, and might surprise them with its depth. Nevertheless, the strong backlash that the announcement received could spell the end of the project.

“This movie, from everything we’ve seen is, a comedic dramedy. It’s not a typical, fall-down Will Ferrell comedy. It’s a little more elevated — it’s a smarter political comedy and Will Ferrell is doing a Reagan impression, but it’s not a Saturday Night Live impression,” Belloni told CBS. “I think there’s a strong chance this film won’t get made now. The outrage and the president’s children coming out and saying that they don’t want it to be made, I think that could have a very detrimental effect on this movie getting greenlit.”

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