I stayed virtually silent last week, as we lost both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds in the span of 36 hours. While everyone else was posting touching tributes, and covering the story from various angles, I just kind of had to sit and process what had just happened. I still kind of am. But today I’m tasked with sharing this trailer for Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds with you, and so I’m going to take this opportunity to put a few of my thoughts down.
Fisher and Reynolds speak directly to both parts of my life: My geekdom and my lifelong passion for performing. Fisher was Princess Leia, a monumental role in one of my most beloved series, and that character (like Luke, Han, and Vader) has been a part of my fanboy DNA for as long as I can remember. Reynolds was a star during the golden era of Hollywood musicals, with Singin’ In The Rain being a staple in my very theatrical household since I was a small child. Growing up, stars like Reynolds, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Judy Garland, with their song and dance prowess, were the kind of performers I admired most.
I also deeply understood the idea of a family legacy; Talent and fame being passed from one generation to another, and the way that can be a blessing and a curse. Both sets of my grandparents ran theater companies in Manhattan. My father was an aspiring actor when I was a child. My aunt was Elizabeth PeÃ±a, out there making hit movies in the 80s and 90s, and I felt- on some level- like all eyes were on me to carry the torch. So families like the one Fisher came from were ones I understood. Mind you, I’m by no means comparing myself or my family to them, but just that I felt like I had some insight into that dynamic, and like I could understand and respect what it’s like to have a family with generations of performers.
With Star Wars back in the public consciousness in a major way, Fisher was thrust back into our lives and I’ll always remember the round of applause that erupted when she first appeared on screen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It didn’t matter that she didn’t go on to have a career like Harrison Ford’s or Mark Hamill’s, or that few of us had really seen or heard from her in decades. She was Princess Leia, she was back, and we loved her. Then there was the end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story where I heard a theater erupt once again at the sight of her face. It’s the number one movie in the world right now, and one of its most enchanting moments centers on Fisher’s face.
And now she’s suddenly gone.
And then, the very next day, Debbie left us, too.
Insane. Just…insane. And all I could think of to say was:
This brings us to Bright Lights. HBO was working on a documentary about the famous mother-daughter duo long before anyone thought we’d be losing either of them, let alone both. So what was once going to be a quirky and insightful look at two beloved figures is suddenly an “In Memoriam.”
HBO has released the trailer for Bright Lights, which you can see right here:
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds arrives on Saturday, and it’s already earning rave reviews.
Will you watch it? I probably will. The dynamic between them reminds me so much of how my mother and abuela are these days, so- again- it hits close to home.