WISHFUL DRINKING, Carrie Fisher’s hit stage production of the intoxicating autobiographical tale of her life combines archival footage with her one-woman stage performance, which was taped in June before a live audience.
An actress, screenwriter and bestselling author (“Postcards from the Edge,” “The Best Awful” and “Wishful Drinking”), Carrie Fisher is the daughter of the late singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, known as “America’s Sweethearts” in the late ‘50s. She became a cultural icon at age 19 after starring as Princess Leia in the first “Star Wars” trilogy in the 1970s. Despite growing up with “Hollywood royalty” and experiencing early fame of her own, Fisher’s life had its challenges, as she reveals in this uproarious and sobering account. Combining wry wit and raw facts, WISHFUL DRINKING reveals her own hilarious slant on the not-so-glittering side of being a celebrity. It’s a show where she’s circling the drain singing.
From stardom to divorce, re-marriage to the death of a close friend, addiction to mental illness, Fisher recounts her peaks and valleys with unfailing candor and biting humor, referring to celebrity as just “obscurity biding its time.”
In WISHFUL DRINKING, Fisher details her complicated yet eclectic extended family tree in Hollywood Inbreeding 101, employing a blackboard and wooden pointer. Her father Eddie Fisher’s very public affair with Elizabeth Taylor ended what had been perceived and celebrated as a “storybook marriage,” and she and her brother Todd later watched both her mother’s and father’s “once white-hot bright star of celebrity slowly dim, cool and fade.” In 1973, at her mother’s urging, the 17-year-old Fisher enrolled at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London; two years later, her life changed forever when she donned a white dress as Princess Leia in George Lucas’ “Star Wars.”
Besides making her a star, the movie has resulted in Fisher’s image being merchandised as part of the “Star Wars” franchise for the past 30 years. Among the items she has adorned are dolls, shampoo, soap, Mrs. Potato Head and a PEZ dispenser. Fisher hilariously notes that among his many possessions, Lucas owns her likeness, “so every time I look in the mirror, I have to send him a couple of bucks.”
Aside from the strain from the high visibility of starring in one of the most beloved trilogies of all time, Fisher continued to face more than her share of challenges. With extraordinary candor, she discusses her subsequent bipolar diagnosis and the life-changing decision to have electric shock therapy (ECT).
In addition to the first “Star Wars” trilogy, Carrie Fisher’s numerous films include 1975’s “Shampoo,” her feature film debut, and later movies such as “Hannah and Her Sisters,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” and “The ‘Burbs.” Among her TV appearances are “30 Rock,” “Family Guy” and the HBO series “Sex and the City” and “Entourage.”
Fisher is also a screenwriter and bestselling author. Her novels, “Postcards from the Edge,” “Surrender the Pink,” “Delusions of Grandma” and “The Best Awful,” were all critically acclaimed, with “Postcards from the Edge” being adapted for an Oscar®-nominated film of the same name starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Her memoir “Wishful Drinking,” taken from the stage show, was published in 2008 by Simon & Schuster, which will also publish Fisher’s novel “Shockaholic” in 2011.
Fisher’s one-woman stage performance “Wishful Drinking” was taped for the HBO special at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) in South Orange, NJ. The play opened in Los Angeles in 2006 and was produced on Broadway in 2009 by Roundabout Theatre Company in association with Jonathan Reinis, Jamie Cesa, Eva Price and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. “Wishful Drinking” is currently touring Australia and will continue to travel to select cities through the end of 2010 and into 2011.
Along with the HBO presentation of WISHFUL DRINKING, exclusive additional material from a director’s interview with Debbie Reynolds will be available on HBO On Demand.
WISHFUL DRINKING producers and directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato have produced a variety of acclaimed nonfiction programming, including 23 documentaries for HBO and CINEMAX, among them “Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal,” “Monica in Black and White” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”
An HBO Documentary Films presentation, WISHFUL DRINKING is written and performed by Carrie Fisher; produced and directed by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey; senior producer, Lisa Heller; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.