Dennis Quaid Reveals What Surprised Him Most About Ronald Reagan During Research for Biopic Role

by Craig Garrett

Dennis Quaid is set to play President Reagan in an upcoming biopic and was stunned by what he uncovered while doing research. Ronald Reagan was a successful actor for many years before turning to decades of public service. Because of this, Quaid likely assumed Reagan was extremely wealthy. However, Quaid recently revealed to Cowboys & Indians that Reagan was not as he expected.

“I found out that Reagan was a very humble man actually and not a rich man. We shot at the Reagan ranch, which is not open to the public,” Dennis Quaid said. The Traffic actor went on to describe how shooting on Reagan’s Ranch affected him. “[The Ranch] was the Western White House basically. Where he hosted Gorbachev and Queen Elizabeth. First off, it’s about a five-mile ride on probably the worst road in California to get up to it. Then you get up there and you see it all. And it’s beautiful,” he said. “You can really feel what a humble man he was, Quaid concluded.

Dennis Quaid had reservations about portraying Ronald Reagan

Dennis Quaid has played many historical and public figures over his decade-spanning career. From Doc Holiday to Sam Houston, the actor doesn’t shy away from playing larger-than-life legends. Still, the prospect of filling the shoes of President Ronald Reagan was an intimidating prospect for the veteran actor.

“I was reluctant to portray him at first,” Dennis Quaid told Cowboys & Indians. He went on, “he was a hero of mine. He’s my favorite President of the 20th century, really.” In order to wrap his head around playing Reagan, Quaid had to find some common ground with his hero.”I was encouraged by the fact that we were both actors. And we both have a sunny disposition, he said. Still, Quaid couldn’t help but be nervous playing a personal hero. “But it’s one of those things where you get a tingle of fear up your spine about doing. But you know what? Whenever I get that, that’s usually an indication that I should do something. So that’s why I did it,” he concluded.  

Currently in post-production, Reagan also stars Penelope Ann Miller as First Lady Nancy Reagan. Bold in scope, the film will take Reagan from childhood to his time as President. Jon Voight also stars alongside Dennis Quaid. Interestingly, Reagan was will be the film acting debut of Creed lead singer, Scott Stapp. Stapp will also be portraying a legendary figure, crooner Frank Sinatra.

Now calling Nashville his home, Dennis Quaid is keeping busy. After Reagan, the Right Stuff actor will next be seen in Strange World. Starring opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, the animated feature follows a famous family of space explorers. Strange World is set to drop in November of 2022.