A l'occasion de la sortie du dvd "Hope in motion" sur la vie et le combat de Christopher Reeve, Matthew Reeve, le fils de C. Reeve et de Gae Exton, a donné une interview exclusive à un journal américain. Une interview pleine de sensibilité et de courage à l'image de son père...
YOUNG MAN'S TRIBUTE TO HIS SUPERDAD
By ANDREA PEYSER
October 29, 2007 -- MATTHEW REEVE was 15 when the man the world knew as Superman - but whom he called Dad - broke his neck in a devastating spill off a horse. On that day, Christopher Reeve was transformed. He was changed forever from an international icon of masculine strength into another kind of symbol. He was a warrior for victims of paralysis.
But for Matthew, things changed irrevocably, too. At an age when guys go on first dates or join sports teams, he never again knew what it was to play ball with Dad. From that day on, Matthew did not know the feel of his Dad's hug.
But Matthew, who shares his father's brilliant, blue eyes, but not his extroverted nature, has never dwelled on what could have been. Never.
"I never thought of what I was missing," he told me last week. The question almost startled him.
"Dad came extremely close to not surviving the accident.
"I think of him," he said, "all the time."
Matthew is 27. Since his father's 2004 death at 52, from a heart attack brought on by complications from his condition, followed in 2006 by the lung-cancer death of his stepmother, Dana, Matthew has pretty much stayed in the background.
But now he's making a statement in the form of a documentary about the final years of Christopher Reeve's life. Called "Hope in Motion," the film is loving and funny, and unsparingly painful. Available Nov. 6 on DVD from Amazon.com and through the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation at ChrisReeve.org, some proceeds from its sale will help raise money for spinal-cord research.
If only Chris had lived to see it.
"He was happy," Matthew said. "So much pain, yet he'd do it again. He'd be happy to keep going."
Matthew's accent is British - a surprise. He and sister Alexandra were born in England to Christopher's longtime love, Gae Exton.
Chris and Dana's son, Will, is 15. In a way, he was the luckiest. Just 2 when Dad was injured, he never knew Chris as a man who loved sailing and flying a plane.
Will "is in very loving, caring arms," was all his brother would say.
Matthew took up film while still a student at Brown University.
"He wasn't even my first idea" for a subject, Matthew said. "Just when I was thinking about doing a project, he did his 'party trick.' That's what he called it.
"He started moving his index finger. It was quite impressive. Everyone who saw it were blown away."
That trick figures large on film because no one had ever before simply started moving - even a finger - five years after a spinal-cord injury. This, followed by Chris' recovery of slight movement in his legs, gave him the unshakable hope that he would walk again.
But there also is a Ponce de Leon-like search for the fountain of youth as Matthew accompanies Chris to Washington to fight for stem-cell research and on fund-raising trips around the world.
He almost found that fountain in Israel. There, cutting-edge therapies enabled a young girl, injured just as Christopher was, to take a few steps.
"There were moments," Matthew allows, "that Israel trip, just staring at the ocean. You just can't jump in and swim . . . Obviously, there were moments."
There is an awareness that Chris' wealth, superior insurance and 24-hour staff helped lessen the load. Still, with each exciting advance came the backslide. Surgery to help Chris breathe without machinery resulted in a raging infection.
At age 50, Chris was aware the clock was ticking.
People injured today, Chris said at the end, are more likely than he to have a chance at a normal life. He died as he lived - hopeful. And still fighting.
His work won't be finished, not until "his dream has been realized," said his son