At a time when we know way too much about celebrities’ personal lives, thanks to their habit of oversharing, we are finally getting a documentary about someone people actually want to know more about. Apple is bringing us a documentary about Michael J. Fox, giving us an inside glimpse at his life, career, and his health battle. Production is currently underway on the doc about the Back to the Future star, and a title and release date has yet to be announced, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter.
The Michael J. Fox documentary will be directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, who directed the Al Gore climate-change documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The film will chronicle Fox’s career, which saw him elevate seemingly overnight from unknown actor to star of the hit TV show Family Ties to international movie star, thanks to the 1985 hit Back to the Future. The Wrap is reporting that Fox himself will narrate the documentary, which will feature archival footage along with newly-filmed documentary footage. Some scripted scenes will also be included, and filming will take place in Los Angeles, Vancouver, and New York City.
The documentary will encompass all of Michael J. Fox’s life, starting with his time as a kid growing up on a Canadian army base. It will, of course, focus on his career, which saw him become one of the biggest TV and movie stars of the 1980s. It also promises a never-before-seen inside look at his devastating Parkinson’s diagnosis and his life since then, with an unprecedented look at his family, which includes wife, actress Tracy Pollan, who starred with him on Family Ties. A press release says the documentary will “explore what happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease.”
A five-time Primetime Emmy winner, Michael J. Fox got his big break when he was cast in the NBC comedy Family Ties in 1982. The show was initially supposed to be a vehicle for actress Meredith Baxter, but Fox quickly became the focus as he connected with viewing audiences. When he was cast to replace Eric Stoltz as the lead in Back to the Future, he became an unlikely superstar, and went on to star in films like Teen Wolf, Doc Hollywood, Mars Attacks! and Stuart Little. He continued to have a successful TV career after Family Ties, starring in Spin City and The Michael J. Fox Show. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1991, when he was 29. However, he kept the diagnosis a secret from the public until late 1998. The disease has limited his acting career, although he still takes on roles and makes public appearances in support of his foundation, which seeks a cure for Parkinson’s.
Davis Guggenheim has directed a number of fantastic documentaries, including Waiting for Superman and He Named Me Malala, about the Pakistani schoolgirl-turned-activist Malala Yousafzai. He has been nominated for a BAFTA Award and two Primetime Emmy Awards. He is married to Oscar-nominated actress Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas), who starred with Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future II and III as Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer Parker, replacing Claudia Wells, who could not return for the sequels. Guggenheim and his Concordia Studio will produce the documentary with Annetta Marion, Will Cohen and Jonathan King. Executive producers include Laurene Powell Jobs, Jonathan Silberberg, Nicole Stott and Nelle Fortenberry.