(CBS Local)– Natalie Wood was once one of the biggest names in Hollywood.

The actor was nominated for three Academy Awards before the age of 25 and was ahead of her time in a number of different ways. A new HBO documentary called “Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind” from director Laurent Bouzereau takes a look back at Wood’s life, career, and relationships. Wood’s daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner is a producer on the doc and also interviews her late father Richard Gregson and her step-father Robert Wagner.

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“It was incredibly cathartic to discover the footage and rediscover photos and go through her [Natalie’s] journals and some of her writings,” said Gregson Wagner in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “It really corroborated the childhood I remember.”

“The thing that was most intriguing was the journey of discovery for myself. As a filmmaker you always want to have a discovery or a journey because that is the fun of making a documentary,” said Bouzereau. “I didn’t know that Natalie Wood was an actor with so much power that she could choose her own films, her own co-stars, and her own directors. All of her movies were kind of autobiographical and things she cared about.”


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Wood tragically died at the age of 43 in 1981 when she drowned on a boat trip to Catalina Island in Southern California. While much of the conversation about Wood has revolved around her death over the past three decades, Gregson Wagner and Bouzereau hope the documentary reminds people about the type of woman and actor Wood was.

“I don’t see Natalie Wood as old Hollywood,” said Bouzereau. “We lost her way too soon but as she was growing herself as an artist, she was embracing new directors like Sydney Pollack and people who were at the beginning of a new revolution in cinema. She was growing with the industry. Very few actors of her generation were able to do it.”

“She wielded all the power in our household,” said Gregson Wagner. “She made the rules and she set the schedule. She was so strong and vulnerable and warm and accessible. In her writings, she was so articulate. I’m incredibly grateful that world will know about her in this way. She was a force and true supernova.”

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“Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind” premieres Tuesday, May 5 at 9pm EST/PST on HBO. Watch all of DJ Sixsmith’s interviews from “The Sit-Down” series here.