Still: A Michael J. Fox Film, The latest documentary from Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim, it tells the whirlwind story of how a young boy moved from Canada to Hollywood in his senior year, became the “Prince of Hollywood,” and ultimately turned his greatest challenge into a beacon of hope for millions. He suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
Told through a series of interviews with the actor, punctuated by a mixture of reenactments of his work and cleverly selected clips from his work, Still It offers an intimate, unflinching, and often funny look at Fox’s incredible life story. The actor’s distinctive sense of humor permeates even the darkest moments, and his banter with Guggenheim is a highlight. Lucky man Fox’s other memoirs serve as a storytelling backbone, with portions of his self-voiced audiobooks used as voiceover. We also hear a little bit from his kids and a lot from his wife, Tracy Pollan.
However, some of the most poignant moments in the documentary come in unrecorded conversations with Guggenheim, who asks him about the bruises and scrapes on his body that are evidence of his recent fall. At one point during filming, Fox reveals that he fell and broke a bone in his face, which required surgery and staples.
but in the end, Still He offers a hopeful and uplifting message about the power of perseverance, hope, and humor in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Below, EW breaks down some of our favorite moments from the show Still, which premiered Friday at the Sundance Film Festival.
“I was never still”
Even as a young kid, Michael J. Fox was always on the move. Still The film opens with a re-enactment of the time when Fox, then a young child, walked out the front door of his parents’ home and headed to his local candy store. When his shocked mother got a call from the owner, she apologized and said she’d hurry up with some money to pay for whatever Fox had taken. The landlord laughed and told Mrs. Fox that her child had brought with him much of her money.
Early on, it was evident that Fox was smaller and looked younger than other children his age. When he went trick-or-treating with his younger sisters, the adults often assumed he was the baby of the family. He suffered from bullying as he got older and developed a quick wit and strong sense of humor to deal with it. He realized that if he could make the bullies laugh, they would be less inclined to beat him up. Limited by his size, Fox found more fun doing drama than sports, and enjoyed his status as the nice boy in an all-girl class.
Courtesy of the Sundance Institute Michael J Fox
Fox had a complicated relationship with his father, William, a police dispatcher and veteran of the Canadian Forces. Before he began acting, Fox told Guggenheim that his prospects were limited, and that his father considered him something of a “potential”. But Fox’s acting prospects were realizing. His youthful stature and appearance, the source of much bullying and conflicts, provided him with a valuable advantage in his budding career. At the age of fifteen, he was cast as a 12-year-old in the Canadian TV series Leo and I. The producers were happy to work with a teenager who could play a younger role rather than hire a child actor with less experience and range.
At the age of 18, Fox decided it was time to get his shot in Hollywood, and to his great surprise, his father went with him, even driving him to Los Angeles. He may not have said it, but the supportive gesture showed Fox that his dad believes in him and sees something special in his acting.
Jam packets and dental floss
Fox lived in such a cramped apartment in the early days of his career that he would take packets of jam from restaurants to eat as a snack. Callback to role in normal people He was less than encouraging—Fox recalls that director Robert Redford had been flossing throughout the audition. The role eventually went to Timothy Hutton, and Redford won an Academy Award for his first appearance behind the camera. There was reason for Fox to be hopeful, though: He scored small roles in the ’80s Midnight madness and 1982 Class of 1984.
The role that would change his life came just as a broken Fox was considering cutting his losses and leaving Hollywood. Until then, he earned the part by the skin of his teeth and the honorable mention interceptions at NBC.
revenge lunch box
Fox was in the mix of actors being considered for a role in a new sitcom called family ties, but ended up losing the role to budding star Matthew Broderick. When Ferris Bueller The star declined, though, as Fox was deemed a viable replacement by a handful of the show’s staff. Unfortunately, his initial backers didn’t include the show’s creator, Gary David Goldberg, and NBC bigwigs Brandon Tartikoff. Fortunately for Fox, the co-writers and producers advocated giving it a chance, and Goldberg relented, filming the pilot with Fox as neo-conservative Alex B. Ketone. Goldberg, especially the live audience, tuned in to Fox’s scene-stealing performance, but Tartikoff wasn’t convinced, telling the creator that Fox might be good, but he’ll never be a face you see in a lunchbox.
The show was a huge hit, with Fox as its breakout star, apparently to the chagrin of his on-screen parents, Meredith Baxter Bernie and Michael Gross, who were originally supposed to be the main attractions. Fox admits he got some hilarious revenge on Tartikoff years later, sending him a Back to the future Lunchbox with his face on it, along with a message: “To Brandon: This is for you to put your crows in. Love and kisses, Michael J.” Fox won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for his work on the show.
Everett group Michael J Fox, Family Ties
“Sorry to suck”
Fox comedy clips family ties He caught the attention of Robert Zemeckis, who was working on a film about a time-traveling teenager. Zemeckis wanted from Fox for the lead role of Marty McFly, but not because of his work family tiesGreenberg refused to allow the director to get close to his star.
As the story goes, Eric Stoltz got the part and shot several scenes. When Baxter Bernie, Fox Television’s mother was working family tiesTaking maternity leave, Fox was freed up to do a movie, accepting a role in what was thought at the time to be a “B-wolf movie”.
in Still, Fox remembers hearing it Back to the future while working on Teen Wolf Not realizing that he is required for the leadership role. He recalls being angry that “crazy” Crispin Glover had been cast in a great movie while he was stuck Teen Wolf.
Everett group Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf
Meanwhile, Zemeckis was not happy with Stoltz’s performance as McFly, feeling he lacked the comedic timing for the role required. Follow Fox again. This time, Goldberg relented. Baxter Bernie is back from maternity leave, and the model thought she could help take on more of the load.
This did not mean, however, that he was giving up his golden boy. For the next two months, Fox would train family ties From 10 am to 6 pm, at which point the driver will take him to Back to the future group, where he would work until early morning.
in StillFox admits that sometimes he couldn’t even remember what ensemble he was in or what character he was supposed to be. Considering that his fatigue affected his performance, Fox apologized to Zemeckis after filming. He said, “I’m sorry, I know I was upset, but I had a really good time.”
Everett group Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future
“Hollywood Boy Prince”
when Teen Wolf And Back to the future Both lit up the box office in 1985, and Fox instantly became one of the most popular people in the world. Calling himself the “Prince of Hollywood,” Fox has admitted to some questionable behavior during this time. “I was rather despicable,” he admits.
During this time Fox met his future wife. Bolan, who came from a more serious acting background, was cast as his love interest family ties. It wasn’t love at first sight. Bolan was initially put off by him. It wasn’t until two years later, when they met bright lights, big city, They fell in love. They married in 1988 and have four children together.
DMI/LIFE Image Collection/Shutterstock Michael J Fox and Woody Harrelson
In sickness and health
Fox woke up one morning in 1991 to find his pinky finger fluttering involuntarily. At first, he ignores her, chalking it up to the hard partying he did with Woody Harrelson the night before. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop. When he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he was told he had 10 years left before he became too ill to work. in StillHe remembers that when he broke the news to his wife, the first thing she said was “in sickness and in health”.
Fox chose to keep the disease private and was soon signed to several films in the 1990s, none of which were as well received as his previous work. The medication helped reduce his symptoms for periods of time, so Fox became an expert at timing his doses so that the effects would be felt while he was taking it. When symptoms persisted, he masked the shaking by holding and playing with objects in his hands.
Fox turned to alcohol to deal with the emotional impact of the incurable degenerative disease. in StillHe soon admitted that he had become an alcoholic when asked directly by Guggenheim. Fox credits his wife with helping him overcome addiction, saying he has been sober for 30 years now.
Everett group Michael J Fox at Spin City
As his film career seemed to falter, Fox returned to television and Goldberg, starring in the new product show, Spin City. The show became a hit, which led to a resurgence in the actor’s popularity. By the time he left the show, he had won an Emmy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for his performance. Working on television also allowed him to spend more time with his family, and in 1998, Fox felt ready to share his Parkinson’s diagnosis with the world.
After leaving the show, Fox continued acting and appearing on shows like FX Save me and CBS’ the good Wife. He retired from acting in 2020 due to his health, but continues to fundraise and advocate for his Parkinson’s disease research organization, which has raised $1.5 billion since he founded it in 2000.
in StillWe see Fox working hard with a physical trainer to maintain his mobility. But having a hard fall when he loses balance has become a fact of life, much to his family’s annoyance. He frequently breaks bones, and tells Guggenheim that he regularly experiences “extreme pain.” However, he is full of hope and can look back on his life with pride, saying that he is most proud of his family and Back to the future. “It’s a wonderful life,” he says.
Where does he see himself after 20 years? He jokes, “Dead or pickled.” When asked if he was at peace with the fact that a cure for Parkinson’s disease might not come until after his time, Fox answered without hesitation, “Yeah, just get it done.”
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