Adam McKay said no one would ever make a humorous film about Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s “in a million years.”
During an interview with the Daily Beast, the director said things got out of control when it was announced that Will Ferrell was considering playing the former president in a comedy about the disease. (RELATED: BACKLASH ERUPTS OVER REAGAN ‘DEMENTIA COMEDY’)
“I’ve never been that close to a story like that where so little information became such a tidal wave,” McKay said. “It was really crazy to behold.”
“People hadn’t even read the script, it was just three words: ‘Reagan, Ferrell, Alzheimer’s,’ and it became this huge thing.”
McKay and Ferrell run a company together — Gary Sanchez Productions.
“I kept saying when that story snowballed, ‘Is there anyone who really thinks Will Ferrell would make a comedy about a horrible disease like Alzheimer’s?’ In a million years no one would do that!” he said.
“You’d have people on the left and right coming after you. I think it’s more about the deification of Ronald Reagan, where you can’t go near the subject of Ronald Reagan. Remember all the brouhaha over that Reagan miniseries? That miniseries was so soft, but nobody wants to hear anything near the reality of Reagan’s eight years as president.”
“Will wasn’t even attached to do the movie! He was just looking at it. It didn’t even have a director yet or was set up. It was just one of 30 projects Will was looking at.”
Ferrell formally announced he would no longer consider the film after outrage erupted over its light tone — including when Reagan’s daughter wrote an angry letter condemning it.
“Alzheimer’s doesn’t care if you are President of the United States or a dockworker,” Patti Davis wrote.
“It steals what is most precious to a human being—memories, connections, the familiar landmarks of a lifetime that we all come to rely on to hold our place secure in this world and keep us linked to those we have come to know and love.” (RELATED: Will Ferrell Backs Out Of Ronald Reagan Comedy After Backlash Erupts)