Since publicly revealing his battle with Parkinsons Disease in 1998, Michael J. Fox has been a tireless advocate for research into the illness and ways it can be cured. He started the ubiquitous Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research, has made political commercials calling for stem cell research, and written three books about his life since his original 1991 diagnosis.
In a cover story for Good Housekeeping, Fox opens up about his struggle and the inimitable optimism in the face of illness. Relaying his outlook on life, Fox relates it to his acting career.
You know, there's a rule in acting called 'Don't play the result.' If you have a character who's going to end up in a certain place, don't play that until you get there. Play each scene and each beat as it comes. And that's what you do in your life: You don't play the result.
So you get diagnosed with Parkinson's, and you can play the result. You can go right to, 'Oh, I'm sick.' It took me seven years to figure out that I'm not at the result. I'm not at the result till the end. So let's not play it. It's not written yet. And so that's the attitude I take in life. Another expression is 'Act as if. Act as if it's the way you want it to be, and it'll eventually morph into that.
Fox, among many other things, also gave some insight into how he adjusts his acting talent and repertoire to be able to continue appearing on television; most recently, the six time Emmy Winner (three each for "Family Ties" and "Spin City") appeared in a short arc on "The Good Wife."
It was great to work again on 'The Good Wife.' That was really fun, and it's nice with work to still have a sense of, 'What do I bring to this? What tools do I have?' Not concentrating on what tools I don't have. I don't have the physical subtlety that I had before. I don't have the elasticity of expression that I had. I have to work to configure my face or to physically situate myself in a way that serves the script or my immediate physical needs. But at the same time, this experience has given me a gravitas, a kind of steadiness and a stillness, even in my motion, that I didn't have before. It's really taught me how to be quiet.
For so much more, including Fox talking about his wife, children, foundation and career, click over to Good Housekeeping.