Written by Ashton Snyder on
 July 4, 2024

Dennis Quaid Almost Turned Down Role of Reagan Until This Changed His Mind

Actor Dennis Quaid, known for his roles in iconic films and his Emmy-winning performances, faced an unexpected challenge when approached to play former President Ronald Reagan in a biographical film.

According to Fox News, Dennis Quaid almost turned down the role of Ronald Reagan in the film "Reagan" until a visit to the 'Western White House' inspired him to take on the part.

Quaid, who was offered the role six years ago, admitted that fear initially held him back. In an exclusive conversation with Fox News Digital, he revealed that playing his favorite president was daunting. "I didn't say no, and I didn't say yes because, really, fear," Quaid said. "Reagan was my favorite president personally, and he was also such a recognizable figure around the world, sort of like Muhammad Ali."

Quaid's Visit to Reagan's Ranch

The turning point came when Quaid visited Reagan's ranch. He aimed to capture the essence of Reagan, preferring authentic understanding over mere imitation. The ranch, a modest 1,100-square-foot home with simple amenities, offered Quaid an intimate look into the former president's life. Quaid was particularly moved by the modesty of the home and the low-tech 1980s remotes that Ronald and Nancy Reagan used.

"It was about feeling like I was going to be judged and feeling unworthy," Quaid explained. He wanted to delve deep into Reagan's persona beyond the public facade. The visit to the ranch provided Quaid with a connection to Reagan's work ethic and principles.

Observing Reagan's Lifestyle at the Ranch

Quaid found Reagan's humility notable. "He was not a rich man, and there was a humility about him that was kind of the bedrock of who he was," he stated.

Quaid highlighted how Reagan governed based on principles rather than trends, which was evident in his role during the Cold War. The actor was struck by the authenticity of Reagan's life at the ranch; the simplicity and personal touches resonated deeply with him.

The experience of traversing the same land where Reagan had labored left a profound impact on Quaid. "Also just the land itself. You could see that it was him that did all the work there. You could feel it," Quaid noted. This visit solidified his decision to pursue the role, as he felt he had finally found a way to connect with Reagan on a personal level.

Quaid's Commitment to Understanding Reagan

Quaid then committed to learning about Reagan's private nature and faith. Speaking to those who knew Reagan well, Quaid learned that even to those closest to him, there was a part of Reagan that remained unknowable. Quaid's determination to understand this complexity drove him to accept the role.

Quaid discovered parallels between himself and Reagan. "Two things that we have in common is that we both have kind of sunny dispositions, and we're both actors," Quaid remarked. Despite Reagan's initial lack of success in Hollywood, his transition into politics marked a significant turning point.

Reagan's journey from actor to president of the Screen Actors Guild and eventually his presidency was fueled by his principles and perseverance. Quaid emphasized this in his commitment to the role, noting that God's plans often unfold in unexpected ways.

The upcoming biopic "Reagan" also features notable actors Jon Voight, Penelope Ann Miller, and David Henrie. Tickets for the film are available starting July 4, with its nationwide release scheduled for August 30.


Dennis Quaid’s journey to accepting the role of Ronald Reagan was one marked by introspection and connection. Initially hesitant, Quaid found inspiration in Reagan’s humility and work ethic during a visit to his ranch. His determination to understand Reagan’s true nature, faith, and principles ultimately led him to embrace the role. The upcoming film "Reagan" aims to offer a nuanced portrayal of the former president, with Quaid at the helm, bringing Reagan’s legacy to life.

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