Dealing with any kind of mental disorder or addiction is a struggle for so many in this country, and many take for granted the luxury of anonymity so that others can't hold it against you. I know it sounds terrible to call it a luxury, but for those, the only way they can continue being normal is to bottle it up, keep it inside and not let anyone know. Actors and Actresses often don't get that luxury. Their pain is often publicized and used for our pleasure and we always use the excuse that money is the cure for all and great equalizer for receiving constant criticism and ridicule.
While sitting in awe watching the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer I found myself becoming emotional after the shot of Carrie Fisher's Leia being embraced by Harrison Ford's Han Solo character. It was quick, not even a second, but enough of a great shot to get you right in the gut. It was the kind of shot that says this is more than just a scene in a Star Wars film.
If you might not have known, Carrie Fisher, the actress long known for her portrayal of Princess Leia, has had a long history of battling bi polar disorder and drug addiction. To a point that it almost killed her and morphed her career into an inside joke among everyone in Hollywood and fans. Many remember her as the crazy ex girlfriend of John Belushi's character Jake Blues in the Blues Brothers and I recall growing up that being the personality that media promoted of her. She would go on to continue finding work doing cameos and uncredited appearances, as well as work as a novelist and screenwriter. But nothing that propelled her into the spotlight like her role as Princess Leia, and after many years we would come to learn that she did not like the celebrity status.
With the accusations and stories of Hollywood sexism and back stabbing, it wouldn't be so far fetched to believe reports that her on set behavior damaged her chances at bigger roles and flushed her career into obscurity, but Fisher is a superb actress and was one of the original on screen divas. Think about the time Star Wars took place, the state of women in entertainment and in a leading role at that time, and how she portrayed her character. Princess Leia is one of the great feminist characters in film (though the first retort would be her falling for Han is the typical flaw in women). Fisher brought attitude to what would become an iconic character that was on the front lines blaster in hand and would be an influence for more female characters that take charge.
Watching Fisher in this film is going to be like seeing an injured animal released back into it's natural habitat after being rehabilitated. You just know that she will be able to resurrect her charm and from all the interviews you get the sense of a genuine love among the cast and crew that has all the makings of a classic. The embrace from Ford, a candidate for the Hollywood Mount Rushmore, is like a reminder that Hollywood doesn't forget its stars and you can climb out of the darkness and back into the light.