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  • Writer's pictureTodd Puhl

Spotlight on The Cast of Back to the Future

Updated: May 27, 2019

“Celebrate Back to the Future at Calgary Expo with Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, James Tolkan, Tom Wilson, and superstar Michael J. Fox.

Back To The Future fans ready the flux capacitor because this is about to get heavy.

A selection of once in a lifetime packages are available as part of this rare Back To The Future Cast reunion. Choose from special presentations, autograph signings, photo ops, or all the above! There is something for every fan!”

I was lucky enough to sit in on an evening with the cast of Back to the Future! It was an hour of reminiscing, laughs and special insights. I have watched these movies more times then I can count but with this I learned so much more about behind scenes then I imagined and so I recapped for you. The moderator asked them all the following questions:

What makes this movie so special?

It’s 34 years since the first movie premiered, it’s 33 years since the first movie left theatres, and the arena is packed with people on the edge of their seats as the cast of Back to the Future begins answering questions. Lea begins by talking about how wonderful the script was but that its the cast’s chemistry is what made the movie so special. Tom didn’t realize how special it was until he talked with his friend. This fried voices the guy on the radio in the tow truck. For this he got to see the whole movie apparently and LOVE it. Tom believes this is because at its heart, it is a great story with characters that are funny and unique. Lea Thompson believed its because every generation can pick up on different points like; how one thing can change your life or to remember that your parents were young once. Fox ends this subject by talking about how happy he is that this movie is beyond them, that when they are gone, the movie will still be there and still be loved.

Do you like each other?

This group seems to genuinely get along and like each other. I’d say Christopher Lloyd and Tom Wilson are the closest as Tom was helping Christopher if he didn’t hear the questions. Lea Thompson was there to help Michael J. Fox. They walked out together and if he ever needed to stand to speak she was there with her arm or th emic. He did make a pretty good joke about not being able to hold a mic, it seemed to really put the crowd at ease with a laugh.

What did you predict would happen in the future that did not?

This question did not inspire the fun responses I expected but Michael did have a heartwarming story. He talked about how Nike approached him to consult about self-tying shoes like in the movie. He was very proud of how amazing they turned out and how much they would help people with disabilities. Tom was sad that erasable pens weren’t truly erasable because they still left a ghost imprint. Lea didn’t have a prediction but doesn’t believe we will ever have flying cars. People want trained pilots to do the flying not to fly themselves. I have to agree with her on that one.

What of yourselves did you bring to your character?

“Nothing!” Tom yells out and everyone laughs. He seems like such a nice guy that I totally believe this. I don’t see Biff’s personality in him at all. He talked a little about how he had to internalize his own personality and focus on the vocal and physical acting rather then going method. He was very uncomfortable with the car scene but Lea was there to reassure him that is was just pretend and so that is what he did: pretend. Christopher felt he was a good blend of Doc Brown. He was intrigued about how Doc would have eureka moments. Maybe because he doesn’t have many himself? James based his principal on a second grade teacher who would hit her students with rulers. I’m so glad to grow up in a time where that’s not allowed. Lea felt her old Lorraine was more her mother but that young Lorraine was a hooned version of herself being shy but on the edge of discovery. Fox made everyone laugh again with his answer. He stated he had 2 days to prepare so he read the script and learned how his character was a slacker who plays guitar, rides skateboard and wants to take his girlfriend to the woods in his truck… “Yeah I got this” was his perfect response.

Any influence on your career?

Lea felt that her experience influenced her directing career the most. How she learned to pack more into every shot and not waste the audience’s time. Tom believes that it affected how people viewed him. That they saw him as a bully which he understand. So he has spend time reaching out to those who have been bullied. That he wants people to remember that the movie shows how bullies don’t win. The fact you are cheering when he gets knocked out is a good thing. Christopher felt the movies made him more recognized and so has lead to so much work.

Fondest and/or challenging memory?

Michael had great fondest for the guitar playing scene at the dance. He loved learning the moves and the music. His most challenging? When he had to redo it for the second movie. He was a little older and his back and knees hurt, just couldn’t move the same way. James’ fondest memory was when he was asked to be in the sequels. Christophers’ most challenging was the scene where he was standing on the ledge on the clock tower. He really did not want to do it but couldn’t talk his way out of it.

Favourite Line!

Lea - “Oh my god its Calvin Keln. What a dream”

Chris - “Rose, where we’re going we don’t need roads”

Tom - “Hey McFly! Anybody home?” or “Make like a tree and get out of here”

Michael - “I can see you’re not ready for that yet.” or “I’m from the future, I came in a time machine you invented!”

Funny Moments

  • Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and James Tolkan all at one point talked about how Biff in the second movie is basically Donald Trump. Lea’s reaction? How much fun it would have been to do a Melania accent.

  • Lea Thompson seemed to be overly flattering Michael J. Fox. Maybe she has a crush? But more then once she talked about how easy it was to play a character with a crush on Fox.

  • Lea Thompson has noticed that Back to the Future is on at Christmas now. Does that make it a Christmas movie?

  • Michael made a joke about his fondest memory being when he woke up in Lea’s bed… oh wait that happened in the movie too! Haha he kids, he kids.

Part 4?

No. Tom told the story of how Robert Zemeckis agreed to 2 more movies after the first’s success but only if after he would own the rights and decide if any more sequels would happen. Both Tom and Lea were sure this wouldn’t happen. Tom was very happy about this. He felt, and I agree, that they ended the movie nicely without continuing and playing it into the ground (like some trilogies that need 7 movies). Christopher did bring up that there is a musical in the works set to premiere in London, England. He has heard some very good things about it. I guess a trip to England is in my future :)

The questions ended and out came white hats for each of them! This is Calgary’s way of thanking them and offering a sort of key to the city. They all donned their hats and posed for pictures for the audience. If you got a backstage pass (for $1200!) then you could stay behind and get a meet and greet, autographs further talks. I sadly couldn't afford this as I am putting my money towards a picture of myself and Christopher Lloyd in the deloren! See you in the future!

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