My Last Days, which premieres tonight on The CW, is a three-night docu-series profiling six different people with terminal illnesses whose zest for life will inspire viewers to rethink how they live their own lives.
To the unknowing viewer, My Last Days might seem like daunting event with a heartbreakingly raw premise, but according to Jane the Virgin star Justin Baldoni, who created, directed and hosts the multi-night special, these are not a discouraging tales.
"Don’t be afraid of it," the star tells ET ahead of the premiere. "This is not a scary show. This is not a sad show. This is not a depressing show. This is an uplifting, happy, inspirational look at life. Go into it with optimism and know that on the other side of it you'll come out stronger."
Before he was cast as the hunky heartthrob, Rafael Solano, on Jane the Virgin, Baldoni's true passion was filmmaking. He began directing at 21, starting with music videos and commercials, but the Los Angeles native craved the gravitas of "telling stories that matter" and to remind audiences that "life needs to be lived."
"About five years ago, I left acting completely and I just realized that I wanted to do something that had more impact and felt more meaningful to me," the 32-year-old shares. "Sitting at my desk one night, I literally wrote down the exact words, 'My Last Days: A Show About Living, Told by Those Who Are Dying.'"
"So I was thinking, 'Alright, it's a show about dying and finding a way to make it joyful. Is that even possible?' And so I decided to try and I called my friends at Soul Pancake -- they had just started their YouTube Channel -- and they loved the idea and they thought it was important to have these conversations," Baldoni recalls. "We spent a year, year and a half making these documentaries and I found more meaning in my life as I was losing my home to foreclosure and surviving off of Top Ramen than I ever had."
In 2013, Baldoni launched his production company, Wayfarer Entertainment, which focuses on creating "socially conscious" media that "celebrates and elevates the human experience." A year later, Baldoni stepped back into the acting spotlight and was cast in the beloved CW rom-com, Jane the Virgin, but his passion for directing did not shrink.
"As soon as we got to The CW, I talked to them about creating and producing original content and My Last Days was one of the first things we brought up." Baldoni says. "And here we are."
Baldoni explained that My Last Days, which will air over the course of three nights from Wednesday through Friday on The CW, should be viewed as a life-changing experience to be watched with friends, family members and loved ones.
"It's an emotional journey and we wanted to create a space to have that all happen at one time because the longer that we are away from something, the more the effect is diminished," he notes. "The whole point of the show is to really inspire people and to help them see the areas in their own life that they can improve, and if we can, kind of jam pack that into three nights."
"Watch it together because it will create an opportunity to have a conversation that is very rare and unique and it will open you in beautiful ways," Baldoni adds. "It'll inspire you to live differently, lead full, rich lives and to love more."
My Last Days airs this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.