"Killing Reagan" star Cynthia Nixon isn't mincing words about how the late Nancy Reagan might react to the freedom granted the man who shot and wounded President Ronald Reagan.
"Nancy wouldn't like it," said Nixon, who plays the first lady in National Geographic Channel's movie based on the book by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard.
"Nancy's daughter didn't like it," said the film's director, Rod Lurie, referring to Patti Davis, who has opposed John Hinckley Jr.'s release from the psychiatric hospital where he was confined after the 1981 assassination attempt.
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"I think we can all understand the emotions of the Reagan family," Lurie told a TV critics' meeting Saturday. But Hinckley was to be held until he was no longer mentally ill and a danger, and in this country "we don't extend confinements willy-nilly" because he shot a U.S. president, Lurie said.
Last Wednesday, a judge finalized Hinckley's transition, ordering that the 61-year-old can permanently leave the hospital. As early as Aug. 5, he'll be able to live with his mother, 90, at her Williamsburg, Virginia home, where he's been staying for 17 days each month.
Lurie was asked about one of the book's more hotly debated allegations, that the president was occasionally mentally incapable to serve, a decline accelerated by the assassination attempt. Several former Reagan administration officials and others have objected to the characterization.
The book covers Reagan's life more extensively than the movie, written by Eric Simonson, which focuses on a six-month period surrounding the assassination and doesn't address that issue, Lurie said.
Reagan, who died in 2004 at age 93, disclosed in 1994 that he had been diagnosed earlier that year with Alzheimer's disease.
Tim Matheson plays Reagan, and Kyle S. More is Hinckley in the movie debuting in October.
"Killing Reagan" is one of a series of books, including "Killing Kennedy" and "Killing Lincoln," that have made O'Reilly the country's best-selling historian by far.