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Christopher Lloyd Reveals His Favorite 'Back to the Future' Memory
It's been 27 years since Christopher Lloyd first appeared as Doc Emmett Brown in Back to the Future, but he has no plans to settle down. Eccentric roles keep rolling in for the actor, and with credits like Uncle Fester from The Addams Family and Taber from One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest also under his belt, he's no stranger to playing the quirky, the creepy, and the mysterious.
As a young actor, he didn't plan it that way. "I didn't know where my career was going to go," he says. "Somehow people sensed that I have certain talents and cast me in these bizarre, off-beat roles, which I have no regret about. I've enjoyed playing every one of them."
On Oct. 13, the trend continues as Lloyd, 73, takes on the role of a vampire living in a retirement community for the undead in a guest spot on R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour (The Hub, 6 p.m. ET), in an episode appropriately titled, "Grampires." "It's a sendup of the vampire drama, but it's also very scary and was a lot of fun to play," Lloyd says.
The legendary actor talked to Parade.com about his favorite Back to the Future memories, his secret to lasting career success, and the year he would return to if he had access to the Delorean.
On his favorite character he's ever played.
One that has particular resonance with me is Uncle Fester. I grew up with my family subscribing to The New Yorker magazine in the 50s, and almost every issue had a cartoon by Charles Addams, often involving the Addams Family. I especially enjoyed Uncle Fester. There's something about his certain touch of evil, his zaniness, and the funny way he looked with his rotund body and round head. I was stunned decades later when I got a call from my agent saying they wanted to offer me that part. It meant a lot to me to be able to play a character I grew up being in love with.
On the best costumes he's worn over the years.
I loved Uncle Fester, but also Captain Kruge from Star Trek. I had a lot of make up and an elaborate costume to emphasize my evil nature. I loved all of that even though I'd have to come in at four in the morning to get it all together. And for Doc Brown, I had an image of him based on Albert Einstein and Leopold Stokowski, a classical conductor, both people that I'm kind of awed by, and it was a lot of fun to have that look. When I go to have my initial costume fittings, that often puts together the character for me. I'd have an image in my mind about where I wanted it to go, and when I see it come together with the costume, it really makes it happen for me.
On Back to the Future's enduring impact.
It's had a profound effect on a lot of people. So many people have come up to me and said they made a decision to be a physicist or an actor or go into medicine based on those films. It's also amazing because children who saw it in 1985 are now young parents with children who are seeing it now, and it's multi-generational. It just keeps moving on—that's what amazes me. I don't know if there are too many other trilogies with stories that have continued to captivate audiences like Back to the Future has.
On his favorite Back to the Future memory.
The film I had the most fun in was Back to the Future Part III. It had horseback riding, and all that work, all that training, was quite an experience. And Doc Brown has a romance with Clara, the schoolteacher, and I've worked with Mary Steenburgen and it was great to work with her again. It was also kind of a western, and westerns are always fun.
On his secret to lasting career success.
I'm persistent. In the early 60s, when I first started making the rounds in New York for theater work, I became more and more enraged every time I had an interview or audition that went nowhere and became more determined. I haven't lost that. I'm still just as determined. I love to work, I have no intention of retiring or even thinking about it. When I am forced to retire, that'll happen then, but it's not happening now. I just finished a project a couple of days ago and I'm already itchy for my next job.
On what year he would visit if he could go back in time.
The late 16th century, around the time when Queen Elizabeth was queen and Shakespeare was writing his greatest plays. I would've loved to go to the Globe Theater and see the original performances of "Henry V," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and "King Lear." What a treat that would be.
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