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‘Flatliners’ stars tell of their close brushes with death – Michael Douglas at  the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival (Photo: David Shankbone)Michael Douglas at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival (Photo: David Shankbone)

HE HAS produced a remake of the 1990 sci-fi horror movie Flatliners and has also had his own near-death experience, but Hollywood star Michael Douglas insists he is not a believer in the afterlife.

The theme of Flatliners is experiments by medical students in which they induce and monitor near-death experiences to see what happens when we die. The media, naturally, have been curious to know what Douglas and the new movie’s stars think about their own chances of surviving death.

Speaking to USA Today about nearly drowning when he was a student, Douglas said: “I did hear angels singing, saw a white light and then relaxation came over me as I faced death.” It happened in the 1960s when he was a student at University of California, Santa Barbara, and got into difficulties whilst swimming in the ocean.

   "Michael Douglas tells of hearing angels singing when he nearly drowned in California"

However, the actor and producer, who overcame cancer in 2010, doesn’t believe it was a glimpse of a life to come. “I do think we have a mechanism in our brain that takes over and makes it easier to accept the inevitable during the process of dying,” he explained.

Actor Diego Luna, who was one of the stars of The Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and plays medical student Ray in the Flatliners remake, views the prospect of an afterlife more positively.

“I’m not religious, but I think we’re part of something bigger; a little dot in a gigantic painting,” he told the newspaper. “I believe we become part of this energy. My philosophy is shaped some by Star Wars. Definitely. The idea of ‘The Force’ is something I really fancy – being part of the energy of those you love in a different way. And the chance to still connect with others.”

Nina Dobrev, star of the Vampire Diaries, who also plays one of the medical students, offered an alternative:

“I’d like to believe in reincarnation: that we’re on this Earth to accomplish something, and that if we don’t manage to do so, hopefully we get another chance to come back and fulfil our destiny.”

Why not? After all, the soul of Flatliners has made a return – same theme, same mystery, just a different body of actors.

“But who knows?” Dobrev adds.

“I’ve concluded that we’re not meant to know one of the few mysteries left in life. I’m not anxious to find the answer anytime soon.”

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