HBO Moves Up Premiere Date of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher Documentary
After the back-to-back deaths of Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds, HBO has moved up the premiere date of its highly-anticipated documentary about the two Hollywood icons
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds will debut on Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. EST, the cable network announced early Friday.
The 95-minute film, directed by Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens, bills itself as a “story of the family’s complicated love,” and promises “an intimate portrait of Hollywood royalty in all its eccentricity.”
It 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.
Fisher and Reynolds lived as neighbors in the same Beverly Hills compound. Their lives at home and the way in which they navigated their careers and close relationship will be seen in the film. Vintage family films and vérité footage will also help bring the documentary to life.
“It’s a love story,” HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins told Variety on Wednesday. “Carrie wanted to make Bright Lights for Debbie and Debbie wanted to make it for Carrie. … They just loved each other so much. The bond was just unbreakable.”
Fisher, 60, was aboard an 11-hour flight from London to Los Angeles on Friday when she went into cardiac arrest. She died Tuesday in the hospital.
Reynolds died a day later at the age of 84. According to reports, she was only thinking about daughter Carrie in her final moments. Hours before she was rushed to the hospital, she reportedly told her son: “I miss her so much, I want to be with Carrie.”
While their love for one another was strong, Reynolds and Fisher had a somewhat complicated bond — most memorably documented in Postcards from the Edge, the 1990 movie based on Fisher’s 1987 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name.
Desperately seeking her own identity from the shadow of her mother’s fame, Fisher became estranged from Reynolds. The two barely spoke for almost ten years. “We had a fairly volatile relationship earlier on in my 20s,” Fisher told Oprah. “I didn’t want to be around her. I did not want to be Debbie Reynolds’ daughter.”
Fisher had started smoking marijuana at 13, and by her early 20s her drug use had spiraled out of control, as she abused everything from cocaine and heroin to painkillers and LSD, she said. Later, Fisher would ascribe the drug use to a form of self-medication for her bipolar disorder, which she was diagnosed in her 20s.
“It’s very hard when your child doesn’t want to talk to you and you want to talk to them, and you want to touch them, you want to hold them,” said Reynolds. “It was a total estrangement. She didn’t talk to me for probably 10 years. So that was the most difficult time of all. Very painful, very heartbreaking.”
Ultimately, time began to heal their relationship. “It took like 30 years for Carrie to be really happy with me,” Reynolds told PEOPLE. “I don’t know what the problem ever was. I’ve had to work at it. I’ve always been a good mother, but I’ve always been in show business, and I’ve been on stage and I don’t bake cookies and I don’t stay home,” she added.
After their deaths, Reynolds’ son Todd Fisher tweeted a touching drawing of his mother and sister — writing, “This is a beautiful love story to witness in my 58 years. I miss them both so much. Love is everlasting.”Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds premiered at the 2016 Cannes Classics in May, where Stevens told PEOPLE that viewers would “really get a sense of Carrie’s taste with this film.