A motion picture biopic of President Reagan is in the works, to be entitled, simply, “Reagan.” Unlike the infamous miniseries, “Reagan” the movie will be respectful of its subject. That would make the Reagan film cutting edge by Hollywood standards indeed.
According to the Hollywood Reporter the producers behind the Reagan movie, based on two biographies of the iconic President, “The Crusader” and “God and Ronald Reagan” by Paul Krengor, are themselves veteran filmmakers:
“Mark Joseph, who optioned the books four years ago, is co-producing with Ralph Winter and Jonas McCord wrote the script.
“Winter’s producing credits include four ‘X-Men’ movies, two ‘Fantastic Four’ movies and the 2001 remake of ‘Planet of the Apes.’ Joseph, a marketing and development executive, worked on ‘Ray,’ ‘Holes,’ ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ and ‘The Passion of the Christ.’
“McCord, whose credits include ‘Malice’ and ‘The Body,’ said he wasn’t a fan of Reagan but was drawn to the project as he researched the former president’s upbringing.”
If the script follows the books upon which it is based, the film should not only be respectful, but celebratory. “God and Ronald Reagan” examines the often misunderstood spiritual underpinnings of the iconic president’s personality and political philosophy. “The Crusader” relates Reagan’s pivotal role in the fall of the Soviet Empire.
The idea that a Hollywood film is going to be made about Reagan that celebrates him rather than trashes him is itself a miracle. Peggy Noonan, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and former speechwriter for President Reagan, once lamented that conservatives don’t get their own “Sunrise at Campobello,” the play and film about how Franklin Roosevelt contracted polio and how it formed his character. The Reagan movie may change that, particularly if it does well at the box office.
The only caveat that comes to mind is the idea that Reagan’s life, his childhood, his rise from Hollywood New Dealer to conservative icon and world historic figure, is too great to be contained by a single motion picture. Perhaps the producers could consider going the “Lord of the Rings” route and simultaneously shoot two or even three Reagan films and release them a year at a time.
Still, this writer is really looking forward to this picture, especially the presidency part. When Reagan first proposed to put communism on the “ash heap of history,” a lot of people, even other Republicans, rolled their eyes. The late science fiction writer Isaac Asimov once opined that Reagan clearly did not know the difference between reality and science fiction.
But Reagan was one of those rare people who could summon a future that others could barely conceive of. When the President first entered the White House, it was conventional wisdom that the Soviet Union was a fact of life and would be with us pretty much forever. But within a year of Reagan’s leaving office, the Berlin Wall fell and, three years later, the Hammer and Sickle flag was lowered for the last time.
More importantly, the threat of nuclear annihilation was lifted from the planet. Reagan was often accused of being capable of launching a nuclear war. Ironically, by destroying the Soviet Union, he prevented the final war that people had feared for over a generation.
And all of that doesn’t even include the difficult childhood, the years as a matinee icon, the union leader, and many other aspects of Reagan’s life. In a way, the life of Ronald Reagan, film actor, would have been incredible as a film. But now one is going to be made.
Source: Ronald Reagan biopic planned, Paul Bond, The Hollywood Reporter, September 7th, 2010