Director Davis Guggenheim discusses Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie

Director Davis Guggenheim discusses Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie

April 20, 2023 A Documentary Series Screening in LA

Seated at the pinnacle of showbiz success following his Emmy Award-winning run on the beloved series Family Ties, followed by feature film hits like Back to the Future and Teen Wolf, beloved actor Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was 29.

Director Davis Guggenheim’s new documentary feature, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, incorporates documentary, archival and scripted elements to chronicle Fox’s personal and professional triumphs and travails. His public life unspools alongside his never-before-seen private journey, including the years that followed his diagnosis and explores what happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease. Intimate and honest, and produced with unprecedented access to Fox and his family, the extraordinary story is, in Fox’s own words, “the improbable tale of an undersized kid from a Canadian army base who rose to the heights of stardom in 1980s Hollywood.”

On April 20, following the DGA Special Projects Documentary Series screening in Los Angeles, Guggenheim sat down with Documentary Series Subcommittee Chair Ondi Timoner (Mapplethorpe) to discuss the making of the film. During the conversation, Guggenheim spoke about overcoming expectations regarding a documentary about a famous person with a serious health issue.

“Every film has a challenge. For this film, the expectations the audience will have will be, ‘oh, this is going to be another one of those bio films about a movie star and I know what it’s gonna’ be.’ And another one could be, ‘oh, this is going to be about a heroic guy with Parkinson’s.’ Very early on we tried to subvert those expectations, so the challenge was to strip all of that away and tell a story about a guy. He didn’t want to be pitied. He said pity is a benign form of abuse, so he wanted to project optimism to a fault.”

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie won the Hope Award at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival. Guggenheim’s other directorial credits include the documentary features He Named Me Malala, It Might Get Loud and the Academy Award-winning, An Inconvenient Truth; as well as episodes of the series The Defenders, Deadwood, 24 and NYPD Blue. He was nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for his 2011 feature, Waiting for Superman. He has been a DGA member since 1994.

 




Pictures

Q&A photos by Elisa Haber – Print courtesy of Apple TV

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