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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Controversy over Reagan TV drama
Ronald Reagan
The film shows Reagan refusing to help people with Aids
A TV drama about former US President Ronald Reagan has sparked fears from his supporters that the Hollywood elite will use it to attack his legacy.

The Reagans, to be shown on CBS next month, often carries "a disapproving tone", according to the New York Times, which claims to have seen the script.

But it also shows "an exceptionally gifted politician", the paper said.

Reagan's son Michael has spoken of his concerns that "Hollywood has been hijacked by the liberal left".

"I fully expect this mini-series will be largely unfavourable to my dad," he wrote in a column in July.

This is not a vendetta - it is about telling a good story in our honest sort of way
Neil Meron
Ronald Reagan was president from 1981-89, but is now 92 and has suffered from Alzheimer's disease for almost a decade.

In the two-part drama, the Republican president is played by James Brolin, husband of well-known liberal and Democratic fundraiser Barbra Streisand.

And its producers, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, have admitted their liberal leanings, according to the New York Times.

But Mr Meron told the paper: "This is not a vendetta, this is not revenge. It is about telling a good story in our honest sort of way."

The story starts when Reagan is introduced to his future wife, Nancy, in 1951, and follows him through his years in office.

They that live in sin shall die in sin
Ronald Reagan lines from The Reagans script
The paper said it gave Reagan "most of the credit for ending the cold war" and portrayed him as "a moral man who stuck to his beliefs".

But there is no mention of the economic recovery or the creation of wealth during his administration, it adds.

And details the producers choose to stress, such as his forgetfulness and opinions on Aids, were shown in a disapproving way, it said.

In one scene, Nancy is shown pleading with her husband to help people with Aids but he responds: "They that live in sin shall die in sin."

I've never called anybody a Commie who wasn't a Commie
Ronald Reagan lines from The Reagans script
Scriptwriter Elizabeth Egloff admitted there was no evidence that the conversation took place, but said the script was based on known opinions, events and facts.

Another contentious section, early in the film, sees Reagan admitting informing on fellow actors for a blacklist of communist supporters - something he has denied doing.

"I've never called anybody a Commie who wasn't a Commie," the script says.

Reagan biographer Lou Cannon told the New York Times that the former president may have been "a bit asleep at the switch" - but he was "not intolerant".

'Fanatical followers'

Another biographer, Edmund Morris, said the political leanings of the film's makers and actors made him "suspect it will not be fair".

But it could also counteract "sentimentalities that are being perpetrated... by his fanatical followers", he said.

And a former secret service agent who served the Reagans, John Barletta, said he was concerned because "when it comes to Hollywood people, they're all very liberal against him".

The Reagans will be broadcast on 16 and 18 November.

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