Mariel Hemingway has a lot of tragedy in her family’s history.
The actress and writer is ready to share that history in a new documentary, one she hopes will shed light on mental illness and depression.
It’s a topic Mariel is quite familiar with. Her grandfather, Ernest Hemingway, took his own life. So did her sister Margaux, and her other sister Muffet has undergone a series of psychatric breaks.
But Mariel has been able to avoid the heartache that has plagued her family, and at 51 has raised two successful daughters and is living a happy life in California with boyfriend Bobby Williams.
In an interview with Mo Rocca of CBS News this weekend, Mariel Hemingway said she’s taking in new hobbies like boxing and tightrope walking.
“My ability to grasp the joy of life is so strong right now,” she said.
But Mariel is also sharing her family’s dark history. In a new documentary, Running From Crazy, she explains what it was like growing up in the Hemingway family.
“Ernest’s father [Clarence] committed suicide; my grandfather, Ernest, committed suicide. My great-grandfather on my grandmother’s side. My great-uncle Leicester. My great-aunt Ursula. And my uncle [Gregory]. And then there is my sister.”
Growing up in Ketchum, Idaho, Mariel said her home life was never stable.
“I spent a lot of time outside hiking because my house wasn’t sane,” she said. “I didn’t feel like I was crazy, but I felt like I lived in crazy. You know, in the land of crazy.”
The documentary offers some of the deepest glimpses into the Hemingway family and includes some details Mariel is sharing for the first time.
“Knowing that there’s so much suicide and so much mental illness in my family, I’ve always kind of been ‘running from crazy,’ worried that one day I’d wake up and be in the same position,” Hemingway says in the film.
Mariel Hemingway told CNN that she hopes the film opens viewers’ eyes about mental illness, and shows them that those suffering are “not alone in the world of dysfunction.”