Natasha Gregson Wagner – On Being a Bit Michigander and How Her Mother Natalie Wood Was Ahead of Her Time
Being the child of Hollywood royalty is one thing. Being the daughter of a legendary actress who's tragic death is still shrouded in mystery is quite another. The Rocker Morning Show's latest guest, Natasha Gregson Wagner, knows the latter all too well. She's the daughter of the late star Natalie Wood, who mysteriously drowned off the coast of Catalina Island in November of 1981. For so long the way she died had consumed her narrative, but Gregson Wagner aims to change that. An actress in her own right whose credits include High Fidelity and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she recently got behind the camera to create the critically acclaimed HBO documentary Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind.
"You know, I'm up in Northport, Michigan, so I'm not far from you guys," Gregson Wagner said gleefully when joining Mike McKelly and Stefani Bishop. "We live here half the year. My husband is from Traverse City. I just wanted you to know I'm a little bit of a Michigander."
Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind, which premiered on May 5th on HBO, is Gregson Wagner's labor of love. "We wanted to focus on my mom's life. She was such a modern woman and so ahead of her time. She fought for equal pay, she was on the forefront of fighting for the LGBTQ rights, she was in to psychoanalysis. She was this huge movie star that wielded so much power at the time she was able to choose her leading man, her director, and I don't know if these are things that people are aware of." The film, which reads like a love letter from daughter to mother is comprised of screen tests, interviews, archival footage, plus, "personal footage of home movies, letters that she wrote, journal entries, things like that. It's just a wealth of information to illuminate and educate the viewer," says Gregson Wagner.
Gregson Wagner interviewed her father, film producer Richard Gregson, her stepfather, actor Robert Wagner, and so many more of the 60s and 70s Hollywood elite that were close with her mother. But there was one interview that nearly knocked her off her feet; Robert Redford. "I was speechless. I felt butterflies in my stomach as I saw him walking down the path to be interviewed. He's still so handsome, he's so charming. He's one of the greats, so he really did take my breath away."