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2016 has been a pretty terrible year when it comes to famous figures passing away, and the last week of December featured twin tragedies that nobody could have seen coming. Carrie Fisher died unexpectedly after suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles on December 27, and her mother Debbie Reynolds died only a day later on December 28 after a stroke. The mother and daughter had recently completed a project for HBO together called Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Now, HBO Documentary Films President Sheila Nevins has revealed what the documentary will be about, saying this:
It's a love story. Carrie wanted to make Bright Lights for Debbie and Debbie wanted to make it for Carrie. It's life with Carrie and Debbie. It's about both of them trying to stand upright, both having their frailties - age on the one hand and mental illness on the other. It's a love story about a mother and daughter - they happen to be Carrie and Debbie.
Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds had a bond as daughter and mother that was truly unique. Fisher was born under the spotlight as her mother was a rising star on the silver screen, and both women spent much of their lives under public scrutiny. Despite challenges thrown their way, they deeply loved each other in a way that was apparent every time they appeared together. Sheila Nevins' description of Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds to Variety indicates that the documentary will give viewers a closer look than ever before at their relationship.
Both women have spoken out about some of their issues as they've grown older. Carrie Fisher has been straightforward and open about her struggles with bipolar disorder, and she became a respected advocate for mental health as she promoted knowledge over stigma. For her part, Debbie Reynolds did not enjoy the physical toll that aging took on her after her decades of an active lifestyle in showbiz. Their individual stories are compelling; Bright Lights combining their narratives should be absolutely fascinating and hopefully serve as a fitting tribute to the two actresses.
Most of the footage for the documentary was captured about a year ago, so the filmmakers have plenty of material. In fact, the film has already screened in front of audiences twice, first in May at Cannes Film Festival and then in October at the New York film festival. HBO has officially set a premiere date for the public to get a last glimpse of the shared lives of these two legendary ladies. Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds will debut on HBO on Saturday, January 7 at 8 p.m. ET. Be sure to tune in to see what Fisher and Reynolds created together for their mother/daughter love story. Check out our midseason TV premiere schedule to discover what else you can catch on the small screen in 2017.