Right away, Christopher Lloyd was asked at today’s NYCC panel who he would choose to cast as Doc Brown if Back to the Future was remade. With perfect deadpan comic timing Lloyd answered, “Me.”
This might sound like blind nostalgia; but I really don’t feel like Christopher Lloyd looks all that different than he did back in 1985. Throughout his charming Q&A at New York Comic Con today, I felt as though Lloyd the man was being conflated with his more famous characters; not that he minded at all! It was as though Doc Brown, Reverend Jim, Professor Plum, Uncle Fester, and the Klingon Kruge were all literally present in New York City this afternoon, answering for their various actions. Lloyd is his characters, and is a sweet person who loves his fans.
Accompanied by a moderator, who occasionally repeated questions Lloyd either didn’t understand or didn’t hear properly, everyone’s favorite mad scientist was pretty damned on it considering that he’s 73. Sure, a few times he wasn’t quite sure what fans were referring to, and other times he seemed to flat-out not remember names of other actors, but for the most part, he played this off as part of the Christopher Lloyd uber-character. When a fan asked him “do you prefer playing geniuses or dummies?” Lloyd roared, “WHAT IS THIS MAN ASKING ME!?”, laughed and then responded “I just like to act. I don’t mind if it’s brilliant or stupid.”
Immediately thereafter, a question was asked in regard to a possible remake of the remake of The Addams Family. Same answer, “Me.” Christopher Lloyd may not be able to hear you, or understand exactly all your references right away, but he’s still funnier than you and is working on tons of projects.
“I’m told I have seven independent films in post-production,” he mused at one point, adding, “the longer I live, the less competition I have [for roles.]”
On the subject of Doc Brown specifically and his experience with Back to the Future; Lloyd asserts Back to the Future III is his favorite because “who doesn’t want to do a western?” and then later added, “…if you have a chance to ever get on a steam engine, you should! They’re like mechanical elephants.” Later, when he was relating a recent experience recording the voice of Doc for a Back to the Future game, Lloyd noticed that everything Doc says is in “crisis mode,” and then treated the audience to a few frantic utterances of “Marty!” before laughing to himself.
A Star Trek fan, speaking loud and clear into the microphone asked Lloyd if he enjoyed working on Star Trek III. “Well, I heard you!” Lloyd responded loudly and quickly answered, “I loved it. I’m not sure why I was cast…but I loved everything…wrestling around with that big worm…”
And then he paused as he spoke about the climactic fight scene with “what’s his name—SHATNER!” The fact that wrestling both Shatner and a giant worm were uttered in the same breath was pretty great.
Does he have any regrets? Well, apparently Martin Scorsese once asked him to be in a film he turned down. “And Martin has a habit of using the same actors over and over again,” Lloyd joked, “So that was probably a bad career move.”
In what could have been a mood-killing moment, one fan asked Lloyd how he felt about “the economy” and the state of the world and if he would like to travel back in time to 1985 to escape the fact that the 2015 of Back to the Future was is obviously not going to happen. The actor again, barely paused, and responded that he’s still “hopeful” for the future. And then, as though he really was Doc and he really did have the option of traveling back to 1985, Lloyd said, a little choked up, “As hard as times are, I’m glad I’m here to see this.” This is the kind of stuff you go to Comic Con for, when fandom and make-believe weirdly collide with something touching, human and real.
Towards the end of the Q&A, the moderator pointed out an awesome Doc Brown cosplayer in the audience. With an mischievous grin and a crazy glint in his eye, Christopher Lloyd pointed at the faux Doc and said, “Hey man, we’ve got some stuff to talk about.”
And maybe they do!
Ryan Britt is a staff writer for Tor.com.