Michael J. Fox sees irony in playing paralyzed man

Wed Nov 5, 2008 6:36pm EST
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Michael J. Fox, semi-retired from show business due to Parkinson's Disease, said it was ironic that his latest television role was playing a paralyzed man in a wheelchair.

Fox, 47, will appear in four episodes of the firefighting drama "Rescue Me" early next year -- his first prime-time TV role since 2006.

"The funny part is me playing a paralyzed guy because I am the opposite of paralyzed. It's tricky just to even be still," Fox told Entertainment Tonight in an interview airing on Wednesday.

Fox, best known for starring in the "Back to the Future" movies in the 1980s, bowed out of full time acting in 2000. He said he wanted to spend his time trying to find a cure for Parkinson's Disease, a disorder of the central nervous system that is characterized by tremors.

He described his character in "Rescue Me" as "really dark and misanthropic. He's bitter and nasty. It's really fun," the actor said.

In reality, Fox said his outlook was anything but bitter, saying he has been writing a book about optimism and hope, called "Always Looking Up - The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist" which is due to be published in early 2009.

"It's about the way that a certain level of acceptance that helps you get through life... Then I get to finish it off by playing this dark little nasty guy who is embittered by his disability. I could easily have been that guy, were things to happen differently in my life," he said.

Fox said he was feeling "pretty good all things considered."

"If you're never down you'll never know how good it feels to be up. It's a great ride and I wouldn't change a thing. I love my life for whatever difficulties there are," he said.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)