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Reagan - What We Know So Far

Over the last few months, the governorship of California has become headline news. With a recall effort underway to remove current governor Gavin Newsom, former Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner has tossed her hat into the ring. Were Jenner's campaign to succeed, she would not be the first celebrity to trade Hollywood for California's top job: most recently, Arnold Schwarzenegger served two terms as the state's governor. But the most famous of the state's governors is Ronald Reagan, who would later become the U.S. president for much of the 1980s.

Reagan's presidency is viewed quite differently by those on the left and right of American politics. For some, Reagan is "The Great Communicator" who helped end the Soviet Union and win the Cold War. Others point to him being woefully negligent in regard to the government's response to the HIV-AIDS pandemic, amid other grave errors. Given the divided opinions regarding Reagan's legacy, the upcoming biopic "Reagan" is sure to draw curious eyes from both ends of the ideological spectrum. Here's what we know about the movie so far.

When is Reagan coming out?

As reported by Vulture, plans for the Ronald Reagan biopic initially began in 2010. The film would languish in the "in development" category for eight years, before entering pre-production in 2018 (per The Hollywood Reporter). With funding in place and a lead actor signed (more on that later), production kicked into high gear in 2020, with filming beginning in Oklahoma (per THR, THR). As with most movies and television series, COVID-19 forced a delay in filming. According to Deadline, production of the film was suspended after several members of the crew tested positive for the coronavirus. The hiatus lasted two weeks, and work on "Reagan" resumed in early November 2020 (per Deadline).

Though the team behind "Reagan" had originally planned for a 2019 release, early delays in production pushed the proposed release date back. When production finally picked up steam, a new goal of 2021 was set. However, the pandemic forced another adjustment to the film's release. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in early 2021, director Sean McNamara said the release of the film is likely to occur in 2022.

Who is in the cast of Reagan?

Bringing the story of a larger-than-life historical figure, especially a controversial one, to the silver screen requires a cast up to the daunting challenge. For director Sean McNamara and producer Mark Joseph, their first choice to play "the Gipper" was Dennis Quaid. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Joseph said, "Dennis was always our first choice. He's one of the great actors of our time." For the role of Nancy Reagan, they turned to Penelope Ann Miller, whose credits include "Biloxi Blues" and "Carlito's Way." In late 2020, Deadline reported that Mena Suvari signed on to play Reagan's first wife, Academy Award-winning actress Jane Wyman.

Other notable entries on the cast list (via IMDb) include Kevin Dillon, who will play movie mogul Jack L. Warner, and Xander Berkeley as Reagan's Secretary of State George Shultz. Of course no movie about Reagan would be complete without the two world leaders with whom he closely worked. Lesley-Anne Down will play the U.K.'s former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and Aleksander Krupa will portray Mikhail Gorbachev, who served as the last leader of the Soviet Union. Also among the cast are Jon Voight as a fictional KGB agent (per THR) and Creed frontman Scott Stapp as Frank Sinatra (per Billboard).

What will be the story of Reagan?

The rags-to-riches life of Ronald Reagan, who lived well into his 90s, offers screenwriters a vast trove of stories to mine. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the figure we'll see in "Reagan" will draw heavily from conservative biographer Paul Kengor's "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism." The film's ambitious intention is to depict Reagan's childhood, his career in Hollywood (including his tenure as president of the Screen Actors Guild), his years as California's governor, and his two terms as President of the United States. Specific events from his presidency that will feature in the film include his involvement in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the failed assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr. (per THR).

"Reagan" will not only focus on the 40th president's achievements, but his struggles as well, including the Alzheimer's disease diagnosis Reagan announced in 1994 (via The New York Times), which would contribute to his death in 2004.