In an open letter published on the Daily Beast, Patti Davisā€”daughter of Ronald Reaganā€”chided Will Ferrell over Reagan, an upcoming comedy heā€™s slated to produce and star in, about the former presidentā€™s struggles with Alzheimerā€™s.

According to Variety, Reaganā€”written by screenwriter Mike Rosolio and listed as one of the best unproduced scripts on this yearā€™s Black Listā€”ā€œbegins at the start of the then-presidentā€™s second term when he falls into dementia and an ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the commander-in-chief that he is an actor playing the president in a movie.ā€

Davis is not charmed by the idea.

ā€œI watched as fear invaded my fatherā€™s eyesā€”this man who was never afraid of anything. I heard his voice tremble as he stood in the living room and said, ā€˜I donā€™t know where I am,ā€ she writes, continuing:

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 driftedā€”past the memories that marked his life, past all that was familiarā€¦ and mercifully, finally past the fear.

There was laughter in those years, but there was never humor.

Alzheimerā€™s is the ultimate pirate, pillaging a personā€™s life and leaving an empty landscape behind. It sweeps up entire families, forcing everyone to claw their way through overwhelming grief, confusion, helplessness, and anger.


Davis, who runs a support group for the caregivers and families of people with Alzheimerā€™s and dementia, then challenges Ferrell to visit a dementia care facility:

Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I haveā€”I didnā€™t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if youā€™re a decent human being, you wouldnā€™t either.


A friendly reminder to Ferrell, Rosolio, and Davis (as well as filmmakers and critics at large): Itā€™s definitely possible to create comedy thatā€™s both compassionate and funny. Strive for both, favor the former.

UPDATE: Will Farrell is no longer attached to Reagan. A rep for Ferrell says, ā€œThe REAGAN script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means a ā€˜Alzheimerā€™s comedyā€™ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project.ā€


Image via Getty.