Actress and comedienne Tina Fey broke down in tears as she introduced the new Gilda Radner documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday (18Apr18).
Love, Gilda, which chronicles the life of the beloved late comedy icon, opened the festival, and Fey was invited to pay homage to her heroine and Saturday Night Live predecessor, who lost her battle with cancer in 1989.
She sobbed as she introduced the film at the Beacon Theatre, telling fans how much Gilda meant to her, stating, “I can personally attest, and I feel comfortable speaking for (fellow Saturday Night Live stars) Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch when I say that seeing Gilda as a kid… (She was) so authentically herself and so regular in so many ways. She was not a piece of casting, she was who she was on TV.
“We all saw that and said, ‘I want to do that, and it’s possible because I see her doing that’.
“It was an early example for me of how important representation is, for everyone from every walk of life. Gilda was our equivalent of Michelle Obama.”
Calling director Lisa D’Apolito’s film, which features rare and unseen footage and taped and written diary entries, “a miracle”, emotional Tina added, “It felt like I was getting to spend time with someone that I never knew, that I very much would have wanted to spend time with.
“I watched the film on my phone in 15 minute intervals over the last couple of days, just what every filmmaker wants to hear. In taxi rides, and rebooting it at stop signs when there was wifi, but I realised I was parcelling it out. It was emotional for me, because we know how it ends, and I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want the film to end.”
The documentary also details Radner’s childhood weight issues and her cancer battle, while chronicling her rise from the clubs of Toronto, Canada to Saturday Night Live.