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“This movie’s about family, Star Wars is. That’s why it has the appeal,” Carrie Fisher said Saturday in explaining the success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in which she reprises her role as Princess Leia, who’s been promoted to General Organa.
An inveterate wise-cracker, Fisher admitted she’s likened Comic-Con, the annual gathering of genre fans, to “lap-dancing for celebrities,” but in a more earnest vein she went on to say, “I go to Comic-Con because it’s an amazing thing to observe. The fans are incredible and they bring the entire family. It’s about family and that’s the most amazing thing.”
If family was on Fisher’s mind that was because she’s come to Cannes for the world premiere of the new documentary Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, which is screening as part of Cannes Classics Saturday night. Produced by HBO Documentary Films, it will air on the cable channel in early 2017.
Directed by actor/producer Fisher Stevens and his girlfriend Alexis Bloom, the movie traces the intertwined history of legendary Debbie Reynolds and her children Carrie and Todd Fisher, with footage ranging from a 13-year-old Carrie, belting out “Bridge over Troubled Water,” when drafted to join her mother’s night-club act to Reynolds’ final appearance in Las Vegas in 2014.
Appearing at the American Pavilion with Stevens and her 4-year-old French bulldog Gary —who agreed to sit with them once a pillow was provided — where she was interviewed by Deadline’s Pete Hammond, Fisher admitted that her mother resisted the idea of the doc when she and Stevens first proposed it, and even when she came around asked where the script was before she sat down for an interview. “My mother is a very bossy woman, but she gave some of that up [to do the film],” Fisher said. “She became available to [the filmmakers]. To allow the cameras [to follow her] as she went to the SAG Awards was very, very tough. So I think that was amazing for her.”
Stevens added that in making the movie, he was most impressed by Reynolds’ work ethic and discipline, saying that “from being an MGM contract player all the way to 82-years-old, performing in Vegas and Connecticut — she never deterred from that discipline.”
Looking back at her own time in Hollywood — “I didn’t want to be in show business, and I think I did a very good job [of that],” she joked — Fisher said of actresses onscreen, “I think women are objectified. You can’t age, get fat.” She added, “I don’t think that’s changed, though it’s become more apparent and there is more awareness of it.”
Speaking of her mother — whose health problems prevented her from attending last year’s Governors Awards, where she was given the Motion Picture Academy’s Thalberg Award for her humanitarian work — Fisher said, “she wasn’t well enough, but she’s rallied now, and she’s much, much better.”
Fisher, who’s writing a new memoir about her role in the Star Wars movies called The Princess Diarest, which will be published later this year, was asked how she’d like to be remembered. Her response: “That I was a crazy, blurred, charismatic, weird, aging, kind person.”
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