Earlier this week, it was announced that the star of Dick and Stranger Than Fiction would star as Ronald Reagan in a comedy about the president’s second term, when he was beginning to suffer from dementia. In the script, which was featured on last year’s black list, an intern is tasked with convincing Reagan that he’s playing the president in a movie.
Despite limited information about the script itself, Ferrell’s casting was immediately controversial, and was widely condemned by conservatives, conservative media, and the Reagan family itself. Judi Davis, Reagan’s daughter, penned a letter to Ferrell in The Daily Beast in which she accused the actor of callously mocking the sufferers of Alzheimer’s. And The New York Post, paragon of subtlety that it is, ran the headline “Gipper Flick Fury,” which mostly just sounds gross.
But the controversy appears to have gotten to Ferrell, who backed out of the project on Friday morning. “While it is by no means [an] ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested,” a rep told Page Six, “Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.” The outcry surrounding the film has almost certainly made it too toxic to be filmed, but Bruce Campbell does a pretty good Reagan if the filmmakers are in a pinch.