When it was announced that Ralphie May passed away in 2017, it was a great loss for the comedy community. Ralphie was someone whom, whenever he was onstage, was alway 100 percent on. He certainly wasn’t your average run-of-the-mill comic, and so fittingly, his documentary will not be standard fare either.
Whats Eating Ralphie May is set to premiere on October 7th, 2019 at the Nashville Film Festival. Unlike typical posthumous documentaries, however, this isn’t a bunch of people sharing their memories. You are watching the final two years of his life as he struggles with his weight ahead of his planned lap band surgery which never ends up happening.
“Typically, when a celebrity passes there is a biopic-style documentary, telling the story from the people around them with footage to fill in. That isn’t the case with this film,” said Lahna Turner, May’s wife, in a press release. “It was shot while Ralphie was alive and documented the very difficult time that transpired before and after he passed. I don’t think there has been a film like this made about any other celebrity.”
“I believe this is a powerful story of addiction. I have chosen to keep the feel of the film as personal and intimate as possible,” said director Cat Rhinehart in a press release. “As a person who has dealt with addiction, I know most people can and will empathize with either Ralphie, or Lahna, or both. I hope the story that emerges is one of exploration of the fact you cannot make a person change if they are not wanting to change.”
More information on the documentary can be found here.