According to a report by Deadline, production of a new Ronald Reagan biopic starring Dennis Quaid halted last week. The movie is simply titled Reagan, and director Sean McNamara told reporters that there were positive COVID-19 tests among the crew that forced production to shut down. The movie was filming in Oklahoma at the time.
"We have had some positive tests from members of our crew, so out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to pause production until we get the go-ahead to return to work from our medical team," McNamara said. "The health and safety of our entire team is my greatest concern." Oklahoma is seeing a surge in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths, with as many as 1,628 new cases reported per day.
Reagan stars Quaid as Ronald Reagan and Penelope Ann Miller as Nancy Reagan, along with Jon Voight as Viktor Novikov. The movie dramatizes the life and career of the 40th president of the United States, reportedly going from his childhood through his time in the White House.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Reagan has been in the works for years now, and it secured funding from TriStar Global entertainment in 2018. The company is based in both Los Angeles and Canada and was founded by former Odyssey Media president Michael Olsen. He told reporters: "We've been watching the development of this film, and we're excited to see that it's now ready to go. It's a great story."
McNamara is best known for creating young adult and children's content for outlets like Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. He himself portrayed the "singing cowboy" in two episodes of Even Stevens. He also had a cameo appearance on That's So Raven.
There are other connections to YA content of that area present in Reagan as well. While Quaid plays the adult Ronald Reagan, a younger version of the president will be played by David Henrie. Henrie is best-known for playing Justin Russo on Wizards of Waverly Place.
Ronald Reagan is one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th century, making history as he came to the presidency from his background as a Hollywood actor. Reagan was born and raised in northern Illinois and graduated from Eureka College there. He moved to California to pursue a career in the arts and soon became president of the Screen Actors Guild.
Reagan was elected governor of California, then won the presidency in 1980 over incumbent Jimmy Carter. At the time, he was the oldest person ever to assume the presidency at 69 years old, though President Donald Trump has since broken that record. Reagan served two terms, then retired in 1989. He passed away at home in 2004, due to complications with Alzheimer's disease.