Back in the 1980s, Michael J Fox was already a huge star in TV’s Family Ties. But after Eric Stoltz was fired as Marty McFly in new comedy Back to the Future, he was invited to juggle both the time travelling teen and sitcom at the same time. Famously, Fox would shoot the show in the day and then sleep on the way to night shoots on Robert Zemeckis’ movie.
Little did Fox and Doc Brown co-star Christopher Lloyd know, but Back to the Future would go on to be a huge hit, earning over $388 million worldwide on a budget of just $19 million.
Universal Pictures were ecstatic and convinced Zemeckis and co-creator Bob Gale to make two sequels.
Since then, Back to the Future has gone down as one of the best-loved movies of all time, being selected by the United States Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2007.
Now 60-year-old, the Marty McFly star cannot escape the love his fans have for the trilogy and he recently has had a change of heart towards the sci-fi classic himself.
Fox has lived with Parkinson’s disease for over two decades, which saw him step back from acting.
And when asked by AARP what has helped him get his groove back, the Marty McFly star said: “Back to the Future! It’s amazing — more people, of all ages, approach me now about that movie than ever before. I’m not sure I understood why.
“Then I came across it on TV last Christmas. And I thought I was really good in it, better than I thought I’d been. More important, I got the spirit of the movie.
“I understood it was just a big giggle and that we all need… to take credit for what we’ve done and the lives we’ve touched and to occasionally step back a bit and appreciate that much of life has been great and that there’s a lot more to live.”
Fox also shared how boxing legend Muhammad Ali has helped him have a positive view of life despite the disease.
He said: “I used to avoid watching myself on the TV shows I did when I was much younger, because I was healthier then and showed no signs of Parkinson’s. But I wondered about Ali, whom I had become friendly with. He’d been such a beautiful athlete before Parkinson’s.
“So, after he died, I asked his wife, Lonnie, if he ever watched recordings of his fights. ‘He watched for hours,’ she said. ‘He loved it!’ And I thought, Yeah, I should love it, too. It’s a legacy, some graffiti that leaves a message of positivity.”
When asked what he hoped his legacy would be, Fox shared how he was surprised to find he’d influenced future music stars.
The 60-year-old said: “This is kind of a vanity thing — a lot of really great guitarists have come up to me over the years and said they picked up the guitar because of the Johnny B Goode scene in Back to the Future. If I did anything in this life, I got John Mayer to pick up the guitar!”
Earlier this year, the star had a chance to see a recording of Back to the Future the Musical, which has opened in London’s West End.
He said in a statement: “I’m buzzing from what is a truly great show. It captures the entire BTTF Experience through sensational casting, effective story edits, great Techwork & Special FX. The actors were impeccable, with an energy and passion commensurate with us originals.
“And the music is freaking great, from the Huey Lewis songs to the Silvestri score and all the new songs and set pieces. It really is a small miracle. Congratulations to all of the amazing people involved. It looks like a hit to me!”