Fan Expo 2018: The Back To The Future Cast Airs Its DeLorean-Related Grievances
When Back to the Future celebrated its 30-year anniversary in 2015, thousands of action and sci-fi fans flocked to theatres to rewatch the film on the big screen, surrounded by like-minded people who spent hours rewinding their VHS tapes and scouring the film for Easter Eggs and pop culture references.
In 2018, too far into the future than even Doc Brown could comprehend, BTTF continues to hold a significant place in the pop culture pantheon. Fan Expo 2018’s special Back to the Future Q&A, accordingly, gave both fans and actors—namely Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly) Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Emmett Brown), Lea Thompson (Lorraine McFly), and Tom Wilson (Biff Tannen)—a chance to reflect on how and why Back to the Future inspires a level of fandom equal to those of huge franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who.
All four actors, Thompson especially, started to get emotional when thanking BTTF fans for their continued support and recognition. Wilson shared a story about a man in a coma who supposedly woke up because his dad played Back to the Future on repeat and he started to hear Biff’s infamous “is anybody home?” line in his head. Fox may have one-upped him, though—allegedly, John Mayer admitted that he decided to pick up a guitar after watching Marty’s Johnny B. Goode scene.
The Q&A, like Back to the Future itself, wasn’t entirely sentimental, however. Fox, Lloyd and Wilson all swapped horror stories about what it was like to film scenes in the movie’s famous DeLorean (or DeLoreans, plural—according to Fox, the crew produced about 90 different versions of the car and every single one was uncomfortable).
While Wilson complained that the tiny DeLorean wasn’t meant to hold a “regular sized,” “classically trained actor” like himself, Lloyd was a tad blunter and described the vehicle as “suffocatingly unpleasant.” Thompson, on the other hand, apparently didn’t get to ride the DeLorean until competing in Dancing with the Stars in 2014.
After talking about why each of them ultimately decided to join film (Fox didn’t want to play another werewolf, Thompson thought the idea of Lorraine having the hots for her son was hilarious, and Wilson really just wanted a job), Wilson recounted his experience working and auditioning with Crispin Glover (George McFly). Despite his intimidating stature, Wilson had never bullied anyone in real life and, in fact, was bullied himself as a child. So when the two ran through scenes and Glover reacted, well, like George McFly would, Wilson had to stop himself and make sure his acting partner was OK.
To wrap up the panel, all four cast members reminisced about working with Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis. Wilson, always ready with a great story, admitted that Zemeckis used to let him and Glover to watch movies in one of his private screening rooms, complete with free snacks. “Did he like you more, or me less?” Thompson asked jokingly.
It wasn’t all fun and games when it came to Zemeckis, though—the cast all agreed that he was extremely detail-oriented, to the point where they would have to shoot certain scenes over and over until Zemeckis was finally satisfied. But his scrutinising nature ended up paying off—as Wilson pointed out, Back to the Future premiered at the dawn of VHS, rental, and cable, allowing fans to watch the film dozens of times and really appreciate Zemeckis’ attention to continuity.
To relive the Back to the Future magic (or prep for the other BTTF panels and photo ops happening at Fan Expo this weekend), check out the trailers for all three movies below.