A CBS miniseries on former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, set for airing next month shows him cursing at his staff and her slapping her daughter, according to script excerpts published by the DrudgeReport.
James Brolin, Judy Davis as Ronald and Nancy Reagan in CBS miniseries
The report, coupled with one published by the New York Times, increases speculation the two-part miniseries starring Barbra Streisand’s husband James Brolin will be a politically charged hatchet job disguised as entertainment.
It already has been denounced by Michael Reagan, the former president’s adopted son and radio talk-show host.
“It’s horrendous, it’s absolutely horrendous,” said Michael Reagan after viewing eight minutes of excerpts of the film. “They paint my father as a buffoon,” he told talk-show host Sean Hannity. “They also have my dad taking God’s name in vain in an angry, angry way. … They have him calling another person in anger an S.O.B. I’ve never seen my Dad that angry and I’ve never heard him use the ‘G-D’ word in my life,” Reagan complained.
Reagan continued: “They dislike my father, and you can see that. They actually infer that Alzheimer’s was setting in at the time the whole thing was going on with Ollie North and Iran-Contra – which is absurd.”
According to Drudge, Nancy Reagan has reached out to Hollywood heavyweights, including Merv Griffin, to try to stop the movie from airing. He also reported CBS’ legal department called producers looking for assurances that shocking claims made in the movie could be backed up.
That may prove extremely difficult given some of the portrayals of the film. It suggests Nancy Reagan abused pills, that veteran Hollywood actor Reagan made the statement about AIDS victims: “They that live in sin shall die in sin.”
Drudge further reports: “Actress Judy Davis’ portrayal of Nancy Reagan appears to be inspired by the Joan Crawford camp biopic ‘Mommie Dearest’; wild mood swings, dramatic lighting, and tart-mouth insults are hysterically delivered by Davis. [The showcase line ‘Ketchup is a vegetable! It is not a meat, right? So IT IS a vegetable’ is likely to become the ‘No wire hangers ever!’ camp highlight of the season.]”
“All the bad things you’ve heard about Nancy – I mean, this show just hates her – absolutely hates her,” said Michael Reagan.
Reagan called CBS’ portrayal of Mrs. Reagan “obscene.”
Nancy Reagan’s mother, Edith, is portrayed as making anti-homosexual and anti-Semitic remarks, according to one script excerpt.
According to the New York Times, which obtained the final version of the script, the miniseries does give Reagan most of the credit for ending the Cold War and paints him as an exceptionally gifted politician and a moral man who stuck to his beliefs, often against his advisers’ urgings.
“But there is no mention of the economic recovery or the creation of wealth during his administration,” the paper reported. “Nor does it show him delivering the nation from the malaise of the Jimmy Carter years, as his supporters say he did.”
Reagan is portrayed being forgetful throughout the miniseries, suggesting Alzheimers was affecting his performance as president.
“Nancy Reagan, who is played by Judy Davis, does not get light treatment either,” said the Times. “While the script portrays Mrs. Reagan as a loyal and protective wife, it also shows her as a control addict, who set the president’s schedule based on her astrologer’s advice and who had significant influence over White House personnel and policy decisions.”
About the AIDS line in the series, screenwriter Elizabeth Egloff admitted to the New York Times there was no evidence such a conversation took place. But, she said, “we know he ducked the issue over and over again, and we know she was the one who got him to deal with it.”
Actress Judy Davis, who plays Nancy Reagan, had this to say to the New York Times: “If this film can help create a bit more questioning in the public about the direction America has been going in since the 1970s, I guess then I think it will be doing a service.”
Brolin said he, too, hoped that the film would prompt Americans to be more suspect of their leaders. “We’re in such a pickle right now in our nation,” he said, “that maybe … we [can] learn something from this.”