News and Commentary

Dennis Quaid Says He’s ‘Really Nervous’ About Playing Ronald Reagan In New Film

Ronald Reagan was a divisive figure in his heyday (nowhere near as divisive as President Trump, but there are similarities).

Liberals hated him (even though he won California twice). He was mocked as stupid, vapid and over his head throughout his two terms in the White House.

But as time passed, Reagan’s stature has grown steadily. America did enjoy a resurgence under his watch, and even historians acknowledge that as fact.

Now, a new movie about The Gipper is set to go into production in the fall, and Dennis Quaid, the actor who’ll play Reagan, said he’s a bit worried.

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“[I’m] really, really nervous,” Quaid told Fox News. “When I got offered the role about four months ago, I couldn’t give them an answer. I had a shiver of fear go up my spine. I don’t really feel that I look like Ronald Reagan. But usually, that shiver of fear is a sign to me that I should do something because it takes me out of my comfort zone.”

“I’m fascinated by Ronald Reagan,” said Quaid. “And we do share a couple of traits. He had an optimistic, sunny disposition way of looking at life. And we’re both actors. He has an incredible life story. A story that I think most people really don’t know. They think they know the man, but they don’t.”

Quaid also insisted Reagan’s remarkable life and legacy is one that audiences, whether Democrat or Republican, will want to explore.

“The movie is not political,” he explained. “The script is not political. Reagan was a Democrat who turned Republican. And that’s what I like about it. It’s just the story of the man who was Ronald Reagan.”

The film will explore Reagan’s term as governor of California, his role in the fall of the Berlin Wall and his final days when he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. “It will also delve a bit into John Hinckley Jr., whose obsession with actress Jodie Foster led to his attempted assassination of the Republican president in 1981,” The Hollywood Reporter said.

The film boasts some big guns. Mark Joseph is producing (THR reported that he has “met with 50 of Reagan’s friends, confidantes and cabinet members, including his pastor and the surgeon who saved his life” after the assassination attempt). Another producer is Ralph Winter, best known for the “X-Men” film franchise.

Quaid has been prepping for the role by spending time at Reagan’s ranch.

“When you drive up there, the place is surprisingly small and humble,” he said. “And they left it just as it was when Reagan was there for the last time really. [His clothes along with Nancy’s] are in their closets and you just feel like they’re going to come back in 30 minutes. It still has their 1974 house appliances.

“His books in the bookcase are a real treasure for me. I tried to read most of them. And he used to build all the fences and mowed the grass. You could really feel him there,” Quaid said.