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Dennis Quaid Embraced ‘Reagan’ Role: ‘He Was My Favorite President’

Michael Foust | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: May 09, 2024
Dennis Quaid Embraced ‘Reagan’ Role: ‘He Was My Favorite President’

Dennis Quaid Embraced ‘Reagan’ Role: ‘He Was My Favorite President’

Legendary actor Dennis Quaid didn’t need to be coaxed into portraying Ronald Reagan as part of a biopic film scheduled for an August release. Quaid voted for Reagan. He had studied his life. He had always considered himself an admirer of the actor and politician. The movie Reagan is scheduled to be in theaters Aug. 30.

“I said ‘yes’ because he was my favorite president,” Quaid told Crosswalk Headlines. “[But] I didn't want to do an impersonation of him. So, I had about a year to prepare for that. In my mind, I already knew Reagan really well. I'm a history buff as well.”

Quaid has had roles in more than 100 movies and TV series during his career. He portrayed astronaut Gordon Cooper in The Right Stuff (1983), singer Jerry Lee Lewis in Great Balls of Fire (1988), gunfighter Doc Holliday in Wyatt Earp (1994), and politician Sam Houston in The Alamo (2004) -- all characters based on real-life people. He’s had major fictional roles, too, including The Rookie (2002) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004). In recent years, he has found a home in inspiring, faith-based content, such as I Can Only Imagine (2018), The Hill (2023), and Blue Miracle (2021).

Portraying Reagan, though, brought unique challenges, he said.

“It was a very daunting role for me. … I voted for him,” he said. “But I didn't want it to just be a love letter, either. You always want to try to get to who he was. It was a very interesting journey in playing that role. In a way, the great communicator was kind of unknowable, to even people who knew him, who were in his world. I think Nancy was the only person who really knew him. There was a very private side to him.”

Penelope Ann Miller (The Artist) portrays Nancy Reagan. Sean McNamara (True Spirit, Soul Surfer) directed it.

A former actor, Reagan was elected governor of California in 1966 and re-elected in 1970 before running for the Republican nomination for president in 1976 and falling short. He finally won the White House in 1980 and was re-elected in 1984. He was known for his optimism, his communication skills, and his conservative policies of lowering taxes and opposing communism. The U.S. emerged from a recession during his presidency. He also was known for his faith.

The movie is “about America,” Quaid said.

“Reagan won the Cold War ... without firing a shot,” Quaid said. “And he was so much about what is good about America. … I think it's a good time for it to come out.”

Photo Credit: ©Reagan Move used with permission.

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist PressChristianity TodayThe Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Dennis Quaid Embraced ‘Reagan’ Role: ‘He Was My Favorite President’