January 6, 2017 / 9:36 PM / 9 months ago

'Bright Lights' documentary captures Fisher-Reynolds bond

Actress Debbie Reynolds poses with her daughter actress Carrie Fisher backstage after accepting her Lifetime Achievement award at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California January 25, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fisher Stevens feels like he’s in a dream. A strange dream.

Ten days after the shocking deaths of Carrie Fisher and, one day later, her mother Debbie Reynolds, the documentary Stevens made about their bond is coming to television.

“The beauty is that we caught Carrie and Debbie at that time where they kind of become best friends again. There were moments in their lives where they, you know, they had their ups and downs, didn’t speak all the time,” Stevens told Reuters.

“But by this point, and the reason I think Carrie wanted to do the film, was that she was so grateful and in love with her mother, you know?”

“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,” will be shown on HBO on Saturday (Jan 7). The release date was moved up after 1950s Hollywood musical star Reynolds, 84, died of a stroke a day after her “Star Wars” actress daughter, 60, passed away following a heart attack on an international flight.

“I just keep thinking that this is a weird dream. So it hasn’t really hit me,” said Stevens.

“They were such larger than life characters and they lived this incredibly big Hollywood story. And so... it does make sense how it ended in a weird way. But you just never would have expected it.”

Stevens and co-director Alexis Bloom spent 18 months with the two actresses after Fisher suggested the film. They began by filming Reynolds’ stage act.

The former MGM star was “doing her vocal warm-ups or movement exercises, getting ready for the show, working out, warming up. And you know, she had energy, but when she hit that stage, wow! She just exploded, she was incredible,” Stevens said.

The filmmakers also had access to a treasure trove archive of material kept by Reynolds’ son Todd.

“It wasn’t easy to pick, there was so much, it was an embarrassment of riches. Debbie had filmed some of that herself with an old 16 mm camera. And when Debbie saw the film, one of the things that she loved most was seeing that archive,” Stevens said.

Friends and family gathered on Thursday for a private memorial at the Beverly Hills compound where Fisher and Reynolds lived. Reynolds is expected to be buried in Los Angeles on Friday, along with some of the ashes from Fisher’s cremation.

Reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by David Gregorio

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