The new documentary Gleason, which EW praised as “gut-wrenching,” “candid,” and “uplifting,” offers a very personal insight into the life of former football superstar Steve Gleason. Five years ago, the former New Orleans Saints safety revealed that he was battling ALS, the neuromuscular disease that has afflicted an estimated 30,000 people in the United States.
The documentary chronicles Gleason’s physical deterioration from a strapping athlete to the wheelchair and ventilator dependent advocate that he is today. His successful charity, Team Gleason, currently pushes for lowering the cost of voice communication technology for patients.
But like the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, the spouse of the ALS patient becomes a major figure in understanding the story. Gleason’s wife, Michel, in fact, is a fan of Felicity Jones’ Oscar-nominated performance as Jane Hawking in that film — and one of the truest pleasures of Gleason is the way we come to learn about Michel’s life, both including and irrespective of her commitment to her husband.
In this exclusive clip, watch as she talks about her original perception of Gleason as a “complete cheeseball” and how that changed as she began to know him. And check out Michel riding a mechanical bull to see just how tough she really is.
Gleason is in limited release now and expanding to more theaters all through August. You can see the film’s trailer below.