"She was very much a role model in the best and weirdest sense of it," Fisher told PEOPLE in Cannes

By Karen Mizoguchi
Updated December 08, 2020 02:18 PM

Carrie Fisher‘s love letter to her mother Debbie Reynolds lives on.

Fisher chronicled their “complicated” relationship in the documentary Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, which premiered at May’s Cannes Classics.

During the film festival, the actress and author sat down with PEOPLE on the French Riviera to discuss her 95-minute project, that will now be viewed as one of the last intimate portrayals of Hollywood royalty.

“My mom did imitations,” the Star Wars icon said in recalling some of her favorite memories with her famous mother. “I started doing Judy Garland and then she’d do this and my mother did Barbra Streisand, I did that,” Fisher shared, adding, “She was very much a role model in the best and weirdest sense of it.”

And though she had high admiration for her mother’s talents, fashion may have not been one of them, according to Fisher.

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher
Credit: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

“I wish I could show you,” she said of the differences between her and Reynolds’ sense of style. “Mine is very hallucinogenic. Not that I know. But it’s light, I like lights and very bright colors and my mother likes more muted, pastels.”

Bright Lights co-director Fisher Stevens, who joined Carrie for the interview, noted that viewers would “really get a sense of Carrie’s taste with this film.”

The documentary, also directed by Alexis Bloom, was filmed in the months leading up to Reynolds preparing to receive her 2015 Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, which Fisher presented to her mom.

Asked if she has many chapters left in her book, Fisher poignantly said, “I just hope it’s nothing dramatic, but probably. We’re imminently, weirdly filmable and flammable family.”

The mother-daughter pair had a fraught relationship that many Fisher used as inspiration for in some of her most famous writings, including semi-autobiographical book and subsequent film Postcards from the Edge and her 2008 memoir Wishful Drinking. They would also share the screen, stage and page on a variety of occasions.

Carrie died on Tuesday at the age of 60 after suffering a heart attack onboard a plane. The Princess Diarist author was flying from London to Los Angeles on Dec. 23 when she went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics removed her from the flight and rushed her to UCLA Medical Center, where she died four days later.

Just one day after her daughter’s passing, Reynolds died at the age of 84. The Singin’ in the Rain star was at her and Fisher’s Beverly Hills property on Wednesday afternoon when she had to be rushed to the hospital for a possible stroke, PEOPLE confirmed.

TNT's 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Gallery
Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

In May, Carrie’s daughter, Billie Lourd, told PEOPLE that though she and Todd Fisher, Reynolds’ son, make cameos in Bright Lights, the documentary “was more of a Debbie-Carrie thing.”

“I was [interviewed] a little bit, but not that much,” Lourd said. “I should do [a documentary] about my mom now, right? But she’s kind of already done it.”

Of Reynolds, Lourd said it was “such an incredible thing to get footage of her.”

“She’s had such an incredible career and she’s done so many shows that people don’t even know about,” Lourd said. “She performs in Reno, she performs all over the country. It’s an incredible thing for people to see what a full star she is. She really does it all.”

Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds will air on HBO in 2017. A formal premiere date has not yet been set.