Brett Morgen Reveals He Flatlined After Heart Attack While Making ‘Moonage Daydream’, Felt Bowie “Was Guiding Me Through Recovery” — CannesMay 23, 2022
In an interview at Deadline’s Cannes Studio on Monday, filmmaker Brett Morgen revealed he not only had a heart attack during the making of his Bowie biopic Moonage Daydream, but flatlined for two minutes and went into a coma.
“I was my own editor on this film, I was my own producer on this film, I felt very alone and responsible,” Morgen said. “During the course of making the film I had a heart attack and flatlined for a couple of minutes, and was in a coma for a week.”
Asked how his near-death experience affected his process once he came back to work on the film, he said, “Most people don’t have heart attacks at 47 years old. My heart attack happened because my life was out of control and there was no balance to it and there was no discipline. I have three children and when I came out of that experience, I thought, ‘What’s been the message of my life?’ And ‘work really hard’—that’s kind of been it. That’s the message I’d left behind for my children, and where does that get you? It gets you to be patient zero at Cedars-Sinai at 47 years old.”
Moonage Daydream is the first film about David Bowie authorized by the star’s estate, and Morgen was given over five million assets from Bowie’s archives in order to make the film, which is screening at Cannes this week.
Explaining how much Bowie’s work meant to him and how “inspiring” the musician was to him personally, Morgen said that following his health crisis he had an attitude change that was influenced by Bowie.
“And then there was David,” he said. “He kind of provided me with a guide for to how to survive, how to live the most fulfilling life I could possibly live, and I realized that the film would be an opportunity to pass that message down to my children and to the rest of [the world], it’s a really life-affirming message. I couldn’t have made this film, I don’t think, without this experience that I had, because when you see the film, it’s very much about learning to appreciate every day and every moment.”
“There’s a line in the film where David says, ‘The moment you realize that you’ve lived more days than you have in front of you is the moment you can really begin to live your life and an acceptance sits in.’ David had such equilibrium and balance—I didn’t know him personally, but from my experience of going through all the media—that I felt he was guiding me through my recovery, and in turn I was able to infuse that into the film, so it became about something much different. It became about life and a celebration of each moment.”
Aero is the official sponsor of the Deadline Studio at Cannes Film Festival, sponsors are Soia & Kyo and Jamones Iberico from Spain: Ambassadors of Europe in the World
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