Exclusive interview: I Am Celine Dion director Irene Taylor says, ‘I did not make the film for the fans’ | Hollywood - Hindustan Times

Exclusive interview: I Am Celine Dion director Irene Taylor says, ‘I did not make the film for the fans’

Jun 24, 2024 06:09 AM IST

In this exclusive conversation with Hindustan Times, Irene Taylor shared how Celine Dion wanted to make a film which would include only her voice.

The new documentary I Am: Celine Dion presents the Grammy Award-winning singer like never before. Premiering on Amazon Prime Video on June 25, the documentary delves into the diagnosis of the rare neurological disorder stiff-person syndrome (SPS), and provides the singer an avenue to share, with raw honesty, the devastating consequences it entails. (Also read: Celine Dion apologises for ‘cheating’ her fans in new Amazon documentary: ‘I’m sorry…’)

Celine Dion in a still from the documentary.
Celine Dion in a still from the documentary.

In this exclusive interview, I Am: Celine Dion director Irene Taylor talked about the collaboration with the singer, and the earliest conversation she had with her regarding the project, and how they would approach to tell this story as truthfully as they can.

Tell me a little about the collaboration with Celine on this project. In the film, we see her speak directly to the camera, to you at times, where she gets so vulnerable about SPS.

When we were getting to know each other, she asked me a very important question. Which was, ‘Would it be okay, and would it be possible for you to make a film about me where I am the only voice?’ ‘Would it be possible to make a film where no one else is talking about me, but I get to just talk about myself?’ That kind of film is not only possible, it is preferable. I told her that. So, from the beginning, we were on the same page. It was a story about her in this time in her life... and she would be the only person giving us insight of herself.

I am also curious about the title of the film, which is ‘I Am’, not ‘I was,’ or who ‘I will be.’ How did it come about?

I think the film is a very 'present tense' film. So, in English it's a powerful word. I am, which is two syllables and it is unforgettable. You said it, it is not about who she was. Sure, we see who she was, and sure she talks about her hopes for the future. We maybe as viewers, through her illness, worry about her future. We maybe as viewers, worry about her future, ponder her future. But what I really want people to hone in on was what she was in front of the camera, in that moment today.

I would also like to ask about the fans, where Celine also says how the energy of the fans feed into her performance on-stage. With this film, she is also presenting herself to the fans like never before. Were you also conscious of this aspect as well, to present her as truthful and honest as she can be?

Well, I did not make the film for the fans, I am grateful for her fans. Because I see they give her so much... they bring a lot of joy to her. Not just building her ego, but joy. True joy. I really made a film that I wanted to watch and did not meet her as a fan. I met her as a professional who would approach it with a bit of a cooler detached perspective. So, I really thought about the fans in the back of my mind all the time, and when I saw the film, and heard the film in New York when we premiered it just a few days ago... I realized that the fan universe is like a film unto its own. It is, in her world, her fan base is really quite rare.

I Am: Celine Dion releases on Prime Video on June 25.

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