Michael Douglas and Christoph Waltz Playing Reagan and Gorbachev in Upcoming Limited Series

Which 1980s world leader will be portrayed onscreen next?

US President Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev at Reykjavik Summit, 1986
Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev before the Reykjavik Summit considered a breakthrough in Soviet-American relations in the Cold War.
TASS via Getty Images

For a president with a background in acting, memorable onscreen depictions of Ronald Reagan have been few in number. Alan Rickman played Reagan in the historical drama The Butler, while Michael Showalter offered a much more absurdist take on Reagan in Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later. And soon, we’ll be able to see another distinctive take on the former president, as Michael Douglas is slated to play Ronald Reagan in a limited series titled Reagan & Gorbachev.

Christoph Waltz is set to play the former Soviet leader; according to an article at The Wrap, the series’s focus will be on 1986’s Reykjavik Summit, one of the most significant events in bringing the Cold War to a close.

The series will adapt Ken Adelman’s book Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War. Adelman was present in Reykjavik — he was the director of the  U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency at the time. Writing about the book in 2014 for The Washington Post, David E. Hoffman observed, “Ken Adelman tackles this history with his views well established and on full display. This book is a paean to Reagan.”

Observers of Douglas’s career may note that this won’t be his first time playing a president on screen; he played the title role in the 1995 film The American President. That said, this does appear to be Waltz’s first time playing a head of state. The Wrap notes that the series does not yet have a home; it’s hard to imagine it not landing somewhere, though.

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