Why Michael J. Fox refuses to feel sorry for himself
The actor said he has no regrets and doesn’t dwell on his disorder.
Michael J. Fox says that he refuses to let his struggle with Parkinsons’ disease get him down, and that he chooses to focus on being grateful for what he has instead.
Living with Parkinsons’ disease
Fox showcased his documentary, ‘Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie’ at the SXSW Film & TV Festival in Austin, Texas, and while he was there, the actor talked about his battle with the disease, as well as other significant life challenges.
The ‘Back to the Future’ star, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 at age 29, has redefined what it means to be living with a disease — and he refuses to dwell on the challenges he has encountered with his health.
Fox waited until 1998 to go public with his diagnosis, and two years later, in 2000, the actor launched his nonprofit, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a charity that works to find a cure for Parkinson’s.
Showing up and doing your best
While at the festival, Michael J. Fox was asked how the filmmaker “mobilized” others to be passionate about his foundation’s cause.
“I didn’t have a choice… This is it. I have to give everything I have, and it’s not lip service,” Fox said. “I show up and do the best I can.”
“Pity is a benign form of abuse. I can feel sorry for myself, but I don’t have time for that. There is stuff to be learned from this, so let’s do that and move on.”
Fox said he has “no regrets” about continuing his acting career post-diagnosis, and at the same time, he is glad he stopped when he did.
“You do what you have to do, but you do not want to kill yourself. And that’s when I stopped,” he said.
The director’s insight
‘Still’ director David Guggenheim described the film as a highlight of the actor’s ups and downs as he has coped over the years.
“[It’s about] Fox’s personal and professional triumphs and travails, and will explore what happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease.”
When the project was first coming together, the director said that while he wanted to cover Parkinsons’ in the film, Fox’s life story should be about much more than that.
Fox also spoke about Guggenheim’s vision in the early days of the film’s production.
“David said early on, ‘I want to cover Parkinson’s, but I don’t want to make a movie about Parkinsons’,’” Fox had said. “He made a movie about life. He made a conscientious decision not to make a movie about Parkinsons’.”
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