Michael J. Fox Reacts to Meg Ryan, Bill Murray and Others' Support: 'Friendship Means a Lot' (Exclusive)

The actor, whose new documentary Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie shows his battle with Parkinson's disease, says the film "brings people together in a way that I feel good about"

Michael Simon/Shutterstock
Michael Simon/Shutterstock

Michael J. Fox is touched by the outpouring of support he's received from friends like Meg Ryan, Bill Murray and Katie Couric ahead of the release of his documentary Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie.

On May 4, Ryan, Murray, Couric and others, including Joan Jett, Sharon Osbourne and Fox's former Rescue Me costar Denis Leary, attended a special screening of the movie at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in New York City.

Fox, 61, tells PEOPLE, "it means so much" to see that they all showed up to watch his Apple TV+ film. "Especially if you can get Bill to come, you've done something. You've moved mountains!" he continues. "And Meg. Joan was there. So many people. It means a lot to me because friendship means a lot."

He continues that "just the fact that they would want to" come, rather than out of a sense of obligation, was moving.

Related:Michael J. Fox Reflects on 34-Year Marriage to Tracy Pollan: 'Anything Good That We Do Comes from Her'

Michael Simon/Shutterstock
Michael Simon/Shutterstock

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And there's no shortage of celebrity supporters: Stars like Brad Paisley showed up to perform at "A Country Thing Happened on the Way to Cure Parkinson's" benefitting the Michael J. Fox Foundation in Nashville the week prior to the Still screening.

Still — directed by Davis Guggenheim, who won an Oscar for the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth — chronicles Fox's childhood in Canada, his rise to stardom on Family Ties, his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease, and his life today with his wife of 35 years, Tracy Pollan, 62, and their four children, Sam, 33, twins Aquinnah and Schuyler, 28, and Esmé, 21.

It features clips from Fox's hits like Back to the Future and The Secret of My Success, behind the scenes footage from the set of Family Ties, as well as intimate scenes of Fox at home with his family.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty
Jamie McCarthy/Getty

The feedback he's received about Still from loved ones who have seen it has been glowing. "All my friends and family, they recognize me in it, they recognize the kids in it, and they recognize Tracy in it and they love it," he tells PEOPLE.

"It's really an unusual film. It really brings people together in a way that I feel good about given how hard we're pushing against each other and how furiously we're pulling apart as a society," he says.

The Emmy winner says he asked his family for their blessing to let cameras into their lives. "They all gave me their permission. And then, at various times, they retracted their permission."

Pollan, he notes, "is a much more private person, so I think it's difficult for her." Even so, she's happy with the finished documentary. "The most important thing is she thinks it's a true reflection of our lives and of me, and I think she likes it a lot."

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Guggenheim doesn't shy away from showing Fox's physical struggles. Early on in the film, Fox falls on the sidewalk outside of his apartment in New York City. He tells a passerby who stops to help, "Nice to meet you. You knocked me off my feet."

Later in the movie, the 5-foot-4 actor, who has recently broken several bones including his shoulder, elbow, arm and cheek, jokes, "Gravity is real, even if you're only falling from my height."

Scenes like that helps viewers understand what he's really going through. "That's my reality," he says. "People always say to me, 'Don't fall down!' Like it's a choice. I just fall down! That's my life. That's my life in a nutshell."

Fox says he gave the director full control over what to include. "I turned my life over to Davis Guggenheim. He picked the narrative he wanted to take."

Which was fine by Fox: "I didn't want to do his version of the movie minus my objections to the movie. I wanted it to be real for him."

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie streams on Apple TV+ Friday.

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