'Reagan' star Dennis Quaid reveals who will play Nancy Reagan in new movie

The actor made the big announcement on the 3rd hour of TODAY.
/ Source: TODAY

Dennis Quaid has found his first lady.

The actor, who will play Ronald Reagan in the upcoming film “Reagan,” appeared on the 3rd hour of TODAY on Wednesday to announce Penelope Ann Miller will portray the late president’s wife, Nancy.

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After he made the announcement, she sat down next to him.

Nancy Reagan died in 2016 at the age of 94.Diana Walker / The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

Miller, 56, said she did more research for this part than any other of her other roles, reading at least five books, watching videos and speaking with press secretaries and chiefs of staff.

“I really felt that I had an obligation, being that she was quite the iconic figure and historical and I wanted to be true to her in every way,” she said.

Asked about whether Nancy wore the pants in the relationship with her husband, Miller said the late first lady guided her husband.

“What Nancy did was she saw his potential and she really fell in love with the man and his character and his moral fiber,” she said. “I think she really helped him become what she saw in him and she infused him with that confidence to help him get to where he was.”

Miller is a Golden Globe-nominated actor who has appeared in dozens of films, including the ‘80s classic “Adventures in Babysitting,” the Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy "Kindergarten Cop," the Al Pacino crime drama "Carlito's Way" and Academy Award-winning Best Picture “The Artist.”

“Nancy Reagan was one of the most important and influential first ladies of all time,” Miller said in a statement. “Her devotion, fierce protection of Ronald Reagan, their love and partnership was paramount to none. Making sure we captured this correctly was of huge importance to our movie.”

“Penelope is a powerful actor and she does a great job of capturing the essence of Nancy Reagan,” producer Mark Joseph said in the statement.

"Reagan" traces the life of the former president from his upbringing in Illinois through his years in Hollywood to his two-term stay in the White House. The film is told from the point of view of an aging KGB agent named Viktor, a composite character based on real people, who tells Reagan's story to a young Russian leader curious how the Soviet Union fell.

On TODAY, Quaid called Reagan “a humble man,” noting he set an example for others.

“He really lived the principles that he talked about for all of us," he said. "Where is Ronald Reagan today? We could really use that kind of decorum and that kind of spirit. He taught us a lot as Americans and brought us back from a dark time.”

Quaid was cast in the movie in 2018, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980 and served two terms in office.Getty Images

"Dennis was always our first choice. He's one of the great actors of our time," Joseph told the outlet.

In 2019, the actor expressed doubt the project would ever get off the ground, even though he was excited about it.

“This is the first time I’m saying it: it’s not happening,” he told The Guardian. “I don’t think they have the money. I was really looking forward to it because I got a shiver of fear up my spine about it. He was my favourite president of the 20th century.

"I didn’t agree with him politically on a few things, but he was emblematic of my mother and father’s generation and a great communicator. It’s a really good script. I’m feeling cheated.”

"Reagan" is directed by Sean McNamara and also stars Jon Voight. There is no release date yet.