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STILL Director Calls Michael J. Fox’s Optimism ‘Deeply Genuine’

Photo from Michael J. Fox’s Instagram

STILL Director Calls Michael J. Fox’s Optimism ‘Deeply Genuine’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Davis Guggenheim, director of the Michael J. Fox documentary STILL, opened up about what it was like to put the movie together.

“We had so many great, beautifully written scenes,” Guggenheim said, referring to the many books Fox has written over the years. “We reworked them, re-edited them, reassembled them and reordered them, but we had them to work with when most documentaries don’t have anything. We also had his readings from the books on tape, and his voice is so good. So that acts as a kind of narration — he’s definitely leading you through his own story.”

The director also revealed that, while he initially wanted to stage reenactments for certain scenes, editor Michael Harte convinced him to use clips from Fox’s movies and TV shows.

One example was a scene from BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY, where Fox and actress Tracy Pollan go on a date. The pair would wed in real life three months after the movie’s release. 

“And you can tell from their body language that they were falling in love at that moment,” Guggenheim explained. “It’s kind of extraordinary. Maybe you couldn’t do that in another movie, but Michael’s life was his movies, so you can tell the story that way.”

Fox and Pollan have been together ever since. The couple just celebrated their 35th anniversary. 

“Happy anniversary, my love. Here’s to many more glorious adventures together. I could not love you more,” Pollan posted on Instagram. 

Guggenheim also spoke about Fox’s attitude toward his Parkinson’s diagnosis. 

“Michael’s optimism is deeply genuine,” he said. “I think he was born that way, but it’s also very important to him to stay that way.”

That optimism even made Guggenheim jealous of the actor at times. 

“I was thinking, ‘Here’s a guy with a chronic disease,’” he explained. “Parkinsons is relentless, and over the three years I spent with him, I saw it just take and take and take from him. And here I am, I’ve got a clean bill of health at the moment. So how is it that I feel sorry for myself and that I want what he has?”

Harte also spoke about Fox’s optimism and kindness while appearing at Deadline’s Contenders Television: The Nominees event. 

“I grew up adoring Michael J. Fox as an actor, and I think by the end of the project, I kind of adored him as a man, as a human being,” he shared. “It’s his ability to see the positive and to laugh through basically everything; his ability to find the humor — maybe that’s a better way to say it — his ability to find the humor in every situation, good or bad.” 

Movieguide® previously reported on Fox’s enduring positivity:

Even though Fox acknowledges his struggles living with Parkinson’s, he still considers himself a lucky man.

“It began with the tough working-class family I was born into,” the actor shared. “Then I met the woman I married and had the children I had and lived the life I live. Still, it’s hard to explain to people how lucky I am, because I also have Parkinson’s.”

He continued, “Some days are a struggle. Some days are more difficult than others. But the disease is this thing that’s attached to my life — it isn’t the driver. And because I have assets, I have access to things others don’t. I wouldn’t begin to compare my experience to that of a working guy who gets Parkinson’s and has to quit his job and find a new way to live. So, I’m really lucky.”

He went on, “And if you don’t think you have anything to be grateful for, keep looking. Because you don’t just receive optimism. You can’t wait for things to be great and then be grateful for that. You’ve got to behave in a way that promotes that.”

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.