Since Back to the Future came out 37 years ago, the characters of Marty and Doc have been inextricably linked in the minds of movie fans across the globe. Robert Zemeckis’ film was a critical and popular success. It cost $19 million to make and made $11 million in its first weekend alone just in the US and Canada. Its success also led to two sequels, released in 1989 and 1990. A big part of the film’s appeal was the charisma between its two lead characters: the eccentric scientist Doc, played by Christopher Lloyd, and his teenage sidekick, Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, who became a Hollywood star thanks to the film. On Saturday, four decades later, the two reunited at New York Comic Con to talk about the movie that defined their careers.
“The best part of the movie was working with Chris,” Fox, 61, said of 83-year-old Lloyd, recalling when they first met. “You guys have given me my whole life,” he told an audience of eager fans. Fox went on to describe Lloyd as a “brilliant” and praised his ability to deliver information-heavy lines without boring the audience. Lloyd said that “the chemistry was there from the first scene we had.”
Lloyd also explained how Fox replaced Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly after filming had already started. “I felt that I barely made it through the [first] six weeks and now I was gonna have to do it again?!” he recalled.
Fox laughed as he remembered his delight at being asked to play guitar in the movie, thinking the new skill would impress the girls, and confessed he was nervous that his talented co-star would outshine him.
“I thought he was brilliant,” Fox said. “That was the whole thing: be with Chris and let it be Chris, and enjoy it... It was a thrill. Anytime I got to work with him, I knew it was going to be a good day.”
The actor also spoke about his experience with Parkinson’s disease, a condition he has been dealing with for nearly 30 years. “Parkinson’s is the gift that keeps on taking. But it’s a gift, and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Fox said. “But it’s a gift and I wouldn’t change it for anything ... It’s not about what I have, it’s about what I’ve been given.”
Fox wrote a book about living with Parkinson’s and opened a foundation in his name that is dedicated to finding a cure for the disease. After acting with the disease, he announced in early 2020 that he was stepping back from the big screen.
“There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a 12-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me …” he wrote in his memoir No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality. “I enter a second retirement. That could change, because everything changes. But if this is the end of my acting career, so be it.”