‘Back to the Future’ Star Christopher Lloyd Describes Moment Film’s Success Really Hit Him

by Allison Hambrick

Back to the Future actor Christopher Lloyd opened up about the iconic film’s legacy and how it inspired a generation.

“You know, three or four or five years, it sank in that this just doesn’t stop [laughs],” Lloyd told GQ. “I mean, kids who saw it when the film first came out, grew up and had kids who they began their lives with. And so many people have come up to me and say how I made their childhood or the film made their childhood, or they became engineers or scientists or surgeons or whatever, from the effect of the film on them. And nothing else I’ve done has had that kind of impact.”

Back to the Future was released in 1985. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film starred Lloyd, Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas Wilson. It was an immediate success. Critics loved it, and so did audiences. The movie went on to become the highest-grossing film of 1985. It spawned two sequels: Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III. Neither received the acclaim of the first, however, the trilogy is still fondly remembered.

Since then, the film only grew in esteem, being selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2007. Additionally, Back to the Future spawned a huge multimedia franchise. Between animated series, video games, comic books, and even a theme park ride, the film continued its wildfire success after the trilogy ended.

Back to the Future Star Discusses Changing Lead Actors

Before Fox stepped into the role, Eric Stoltz played Marty McFly. After filming already began, Stoltz was let go after creative disagreements with Zemeckis. As a result, the director cast his first choice for the role, Fox, who previously declined due to scheduling conflicts with Family Ties. Initially, Lloyd was apprehensive about the change.

“My biggest fear was that, because I was really working to get Doc right, I thought ‘I don’t know if can get it up to do that again.’ I was worried about it, but it all worked out,” Lloyd explained. “Michael, we had a chemistry which lasted the whole time. We could come back after a break and just be there. You know, we didn’t have to work for it. So that was great.”

According to Lloyd, the change in casting blindsided him. In fact, he found out about it on set.

“There was another actor, and Michael came in after we shot for six weeks,” he said. “They just decided that they needed somebody with a comic flair, you know? And Stoltz is a wonderful actor. I had no idea that there was a change coming. One night we were shooting the mall beginning sequence. We were all asked to come to one of the trailers at 1:00 in the morning, and Spielberg was there, and he made the announcement of the change.”

While his apprehensions were understandable, it turned out that casting Fox was amazing for the film. Back to the Future is a classic, beloved by generations, and a huge part of that is the comedic chemistry between Marty and Doc Brown.