Well, here’s a little bit of good news to begin the weekend. Will Ferrell had been planning to star in a “comedy” about Ronald Reagan during the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Except, it wasn’t going to be quite accurate about the timing and make it look like Reagan had dementia while still in office.
Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis wrote an open letter to Ferrell which quickly went viral.
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. Perhaps if you knew more, you would not find the subject humorous.
Alzheimer’s doesn’t care if you are President of the United States or a dockworker. 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. 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. For ten long years he drifted — past the memories that marked his life, past all that was familiar…and mercifully, finally past the fear.
There was laughter in those years, but there was never humor. (Read More)
Now Ferrell says he isn’t going to do the movie. It’s hard to know what’s in someone else’s mind or heart. The statement from his reps says that he has a number of projects going on, Blah, blah, blah. I doubt he is scrapping the script because he realized Alzheimer’s isn’t funny, but that the public outrage over it got to him.