Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd on acting with Michael J Fox: “We never had to think about it – the chemistry was right there”

The actor otherwise known as Doc Brown admits he had concerns when Fox replaced the original Marty McFly, Eric Stoltz, but says "everything fell into place" as soon as they started working together

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The incredible onscreen chemistry between Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd is one of the things that sets the Back to the Future films apart.

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As time-travelling teen Marty McFly and his eccentric scientist friend Doc Emmett Brown, the duo created one of the funniest, most enthralling and best-loved big-screen comedy partnerships in movie history – and Lloyd says it just came naturally.

“It’s pretty amazing but we never had to think about it,” he told RadioTimes.com. “I don’t ever remember [director] Bob Zemeckis saying ‘tweak this’ or ‘change this a little bit’ or ‘try to find a natural chemistry’ – it just existed from when Michael came in, and we never had to think about the relationship in terms of how should I react to him doing this or vice versa.

“We went into it with full commitment and the way we related was just natural, the chemistry was right there. Fantastic!”

Lloyd admits he had misgivings when he was first told by Zemeckis and co that Eric Stoltz, the original Marty McFly, was not working out and that they intended to replace him with Fox.

Not only was Fox’s work unknown to Lloyd, but he thought that he and Stoltz had been doing just fine… 

“I didn’t know Michael before he came in and I didn’t know really very much about him and I hadn’t watched his series that he was doing at the time [Family Ties].

“With Eric Stoltz in that first six weeks, I wasn’t aware that there was any kind of deficiency… he’s a good actor, he’s a very good actor, and we just did our work but the people watching the dailies [the film rushes], they needed a kind of comic energy that Michael has very naturally so they made the switch.

“I was very concerned because I was still hoping that I was hitting my mark in terms of the characterisation so when they said there was gonna be a switch my first thought was my god, I don’t know if I can get up to the same level I did on the first six weeks, repeat that again – but it just fell into place very easily.”

The rest, as they say, is history…

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Christopher Lloyd reads a story in Crackanory Series 3 on Dave later this year, in partnership with Audible