AceShowbiz - Dennis Quaid mulled over the opportunity to portray Ronald Reagan onscreen for a week while wearing a replica of the late U.S. president's cowboy hat.
Producer Mark Joseph had been helping to develop the new biopic, Reagan, with Quaid in mind to play the titular role, and he decided to send The Day After Tomorrow star headgear similar to one the actor-turned-politician favoured during his years in office to help his potential leading man get a feel of the real-life character.
It didn't take much for Quaid to sign on to the project, but he initially played with Joseph's emotions as they discussed the part.
"I bought him a Reagan cowboy hat replica," Joseph recalled on breakfast show Megyn Kelly Today, "and I said, 'Dennis, try this on,' and Dennis put it on and he said, 'Call me back in a week.'"
"So I called him back in a week, and I said, 'Dennis, what do you think?' and he said, 'Mark, that hat, it's just too big, it doesn't fit,'" the producer continued. "My heart sank, I went, 'Argh, here we go, he just can't do it,' and then he said, 'But I think I can grow into it.'"
Quaid, 64, admits he was interested in the job from the start, because he has long admired Reagan's work in the White House, where the Republican served as Commander-in-Chief from 1981 to 1989.
"He was my favourite president of my life (sic)," said Quaid, who has always been registered as an independent, but voted for Reagan during his youth. "There's so many things that he did that changed my life and the world, for the better. For one thing, ending the Cold War, and he brought back a sense of common sense (to politics). He stuck to his guns and his principals. He was a great man, and a humble man."
"I think he was born genetically, with a sunny disposition, and that's the thing that he and I have in common...," the actor continued, although he acknowledges the pressure which comes with getting the movie portrayal just right.
"I feel a huge responsibility whenever I play somebody who was a real person, whether they're dead or alive, because I want to get them right...," Quaid added.
Production on Reagan, which will chronicle the leader's life from childhood to the White House, is expected to begin later this year, ahead of a 2019 release.
Sean McNamara will direct the film, which also stars Jon Voight and Robert Davi.