NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - You probably know about his famous block that many say sparked the city's rebirth after Katrina. And maybe you've done, or at least seen, the ice bucket challenge.
But if you really want to get to know Steve Gleason, mark your calendar for July 29th, when his life story hits the big screen in a handful of cities, including New Orleans.
“You might have heard about this story a lot in the local news and on ESPN, and I just hope that people see another side to this story and really appreciate the deeper understanding of what the family has gone through. I'm excited for the community to see that,” says Director Clay Tweel.
"Gleason" is a documentary, but it's not just the tale of a superstar football player tackled by a debilitating disease.
Instead, it's a love story. Read Stephanie's review of the #GleasonMovie here.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees helped in the production.
“It's a film you have to see — and bring your Kleenex's because you will cry, you will get as emotional as you've ever gotten because whether you were a close friend of Steve or you just knew him from afar, it's hard not to be moved from this film,” Brees said on the Red Carpet (which was blue!) Tuesday night.
But there are as many laughs in the movie as there are tears. His wife, Michel, is an undeniable heroine.
“It’s a very, very intimate portrayal of our life. There’s nothing fake. It’s super raw,” she told Twist Reporter Stephanie Oswald.
Her father, Paul Varisco, is the movie's executive producer.
“This film, this documentary, in my humble opinion, transcends the disease of ALS, transcends football, transcends so many things and it's all about the human spirit. The more that people understand what people with ALS are going through, the more they'll help, and hopefully they'll raise money. At the very least we hope it raises more and more awareness,” says Varisco.
This started out as a video journal for Steve and Michel's unborn son, inspired by a diagnosis that gave the former Saints player two to five years to live.
It’s a story about the relationship between fathers and sons, and a man’s relationship with his own soul, mind over matter, and the triumph of the human spirit.
“It's just so real. I mean there is nothing Hollywood about this. This is Steve's life, Steve's story, Steve's journey, and it's about all the people who have been along that journey with him and it's really a story of hope,” says Brees.