Christopher Reeve | Life story to be told in new documentary film

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Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story is a documentary that’s set to debut in early 2024: more here.

In the past 24 hours, the full programme has been announce for this year’s Sundance Film Festival, with a mix of eye-catching features from around the globe set to debut this coming January.

Here’s one that’s particularly caught my eye, though: a documentary feature about the late and much-missed Christopher Reeve.

To a generation of us growing up, Reeve simply was Superman. But as his autobiography testifies too, there was an awful lot more to him, both before and after the accident that would be such a major turning point in his life. It was in 1995 that, in a riding accident, Reeve’s first and second vertebrae were irreparably damaged, leaving his paralysed from the neck down.

His book is incredibly candid about this period of his life, and the slow rebuild. Right back to the point where he ended up directing TV movies and campaigning for faster stem cell research.

Read more: Exploring the music of the Superman movies

Writer and director Peter Ettedgui has been charting his story, and will present his work in the documentary feature Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story. It’s been chosen as an opening night film at Sundance, and the synopsis for the production reads as follows.

Never-before-seen home movies and extraordinary personal archives reveal how Christopher Reeve went from unknown actor to iconic movie star as the ultimate screen superhero. He learned the true meaning of heroism as an activist after suffering a tragic accident that left him quadriplegic and dependent on a ventilator to breathe. 

Capturing Reeve’s life in a single feature documentary sounds like quite the challenge, and I’m fascinated to see just how Ettedgui approaches it. It’s nearly 20 years, astonishingly, since Christopher Reeve left us at the age of just 52.  

The new documentary doesn’t yet have UK distribution to my knowledge, but it’s a matter of time. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more about it.

UPDATE (Story originally published in December 2023): Following its successful debut at the Sundance Film Festival, the film has now been acquired by Warner Bros Discovery. Look for a wide release latest this year.

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