To say that the world has lost a lot of pop culture icons in 2016 would be a vast understatement. Just a few of the favorites to meet their end this past year include multi-talented musician Prince, comedy legend Gene Wilder, the inimitable artist known as David Bowie, and endlessly memorable character actor Alan Rickman. Just this past week though, the world was dealt a pair of losses perhaps more painful than any other in 2016 so far, that of beloved mother/daughter duo Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.
Both Reynolds and Fisher were certified Hollywood royalty, with the former having appeared in such classic films as Singin’ in the Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Reynolds never slowed down with age either, racking up a nearly 60-year career in movies and TV. Fisher was of course best known for bringing Princess Leia to life in the original Star Wars trilogy, and recently reprising the role in J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens. Fisher has also very publicly struggled with mental illness and substance abuse, all while never failing to maintain her wry sense of humor and lightning fast wit.
Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher were truly interesting characters up until the very end, which makes it no surprise that even prior to their deaths, HBO was gearing up to debut a documentary about their lives together. Titled Bright Lights, the documentary examines the extremely close relationship the two shared, down to living together at the same Los Angeles compound. The program was originally set to debut in March, but in light of the current spotlight on both sadly deceased women, HBO (as reported by Deadline) has decided to bump the premiere date up to January 7th.
Bright Lights actually won’t be the first time the relationship between Reynolds and Fisher gets examined on-screen, as the pair’s ups and downs were loosely dramatized in the acclaimed 1990 Mike Nichols effort Postcards from the Edge. Postcards was based on Fisher’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, with her also writing the screenplay for the film. Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine played the mother/daughter lead roles, with Streep earning an Oscar nomination for her work. Reynolds actually wanted to play the MacLaine role herself, but director Nichols vetoed it.
In addition to moving up the premiere of Bright Lights, HBO has also opted to re-air the feature length version of Fisher’s widely-praised one-woman show Wishful Drinking tomorrow night at 9pm, right before it’s time to ring in the new year. Clearly, while Fisher and Reynolds may be gone, their legacies won’t soon be forgotten.
Bright Lights airs Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 8pm on HBO.