“I may feel sorry for myself, but I don’t have time for that,” Fox remarked of living with Parkinson’s disease after a screening of his documentary at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival.
Michael J. Fox is speaking up about his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
Following a showing of his documentary, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival, the actor, 61, discussed his life since being diagnosed with parkinson’s in 1991 and going public with his diagnosis in 1998.
During a Q&A, he was asked how he “didn’t have a choice,” he said, after mobilizing people to care about Parkinson’s. “I have to contribute everything I’ve got, and this isn’t just lip service. I show up and give it my all.”
He went on, “Pity is a non-violent kind of maltreatment. I could lament myself, but I don’t have time for that. This is something to be learned from, so let’s get it done and move on.”
In response to questions about the film with director Davis Guggenheim, Fox stated that the goal of sharing more about his life is to give back to his followers.
“My fans have essentially given me my life,” he said. “I wanted to express my appreciation and time to those who had done so much for me. It was wonderful to hear from all of you.”
“Parkinson’s stinks, but it’s a great life, so thank you for that,” he said to Guggenheim.
“I have no regrets about working following my diagnosis,” he stated. “You do what needs to be done but don’t want to destroy yourself. That’s when I came to a halt.”
The documentary “incorporates factual, archive, and scripted elements, presenting Fox’s amazing narrative in his own words,” according to the film’s logline.
While the film includes an “account of Fox’s public life, full of nostalgic thrills and cinematic gloss,” as well as his “never-before-seen private journey, including the years that followed his diagnosis with Parkinson’s,” Fox revealed that there is much more to the film than his health.
“‘I want to cover Parkinson’s, but I don’t want to make a movie about Parkinson’s,’ David stated early on. “He made a film on life,” Fox elaborated. “He made a deliberate decision not to make a film about Parkinson’s.”
The Back to the Future star disclosed his decision to go public with his illness in a 2021 interview.
“That was seven or eight years after I was diagnosed… [and] the paparazzi and things would stand outside my apartment and heckle at me, like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’” Fox remembered. “‘I can’t be having my neighbors cope with this,’ I said, so I came out, which was fantastic. It was fantastic.”
“That surprised me that people reacted as they did,” he added. “People replied with curiosity, a desire to discover a cure for the condition, and I saw that as a golden opportunity. I wasn’t positioned in this position to waste it.”
Fox established the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000 after coming public with his Parkinson’s disease.
“With an aggressively funded research program, the Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to discovering a cure for Parkinson’s disease and assuring the development of improved therapies for individuals living with Parkinson’s today,” the foundation says on its website.