Before reality television, there was Spalding Gray. Part performance artist, part actor and part journalist, Gray’s autobiographical stage performances were mesmerizing. The man was just a natural born storyteller. Armed with only a table and a glass of water, Gray would spend hours interestingly and hysterically exposing the cracks in his mind and his life. He was notoriously depressed, possibly bipolar and after having suffered a 2001 car accident and horrific injuries from which he never truly recovered, in 2004 he followed his mother’s lead by committing suicide.
The life in between was filled with success, though Gray himself never seemed to realize it. He acted in many films including The Killing Fields, after which he wrote and performed Swimming to Cambodia, a stage monologue based on his experiences while making TKF; Swimming to Cambodia later became a Jonathan Demme film. Gray won an Obie for the play and the National Book Award for his writing. He created and starred in several more films, wrote more than a dozen books and had many television roles.
After hearing that Gray’s widow was interested in making a documentary about her late husband, Steven Soderbergh (who directed Gray’s Anatomy and put him in his own film, King of the Hill) stepped in and put together this documentary - a collage of monologue performances put together to tell a chronological life story.
Here’s the trailer:
Soderbergh premiered And Everything Is Going Fine at Slamdance earlier this year; it will be out in limited theaters December 10.