It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) first leaped into that plutonium-powered DeLorean and time-traveled back to 1955. But on this rainy October day in New York City, Fox and his Back to the Future costar Lea Thompson, who played Marty’s mother, Lorraine, act like no time has passed, warmly posing with each other alongside a replica of the iconic car. ”Being with the car is great — it’s more fun being with Lea,” says Fox, 49, who will return to TV Nov. 9 in a guest spot on The Good Wife. ”I just remember all these things with the car — smashing my head on the door, hitting my knee on the flux capacitor.” Adds Thompson, ”It’s a thrill for me because I didn’t actually get to shoot in the car. I kinda saw it in the background. I’m a little bitter! It’s great to see Michael. I can’t believe it’s been 25 years.” The 49-year-old actress, who costars in the upcoming film The Convincer with Greg Kinnear, joined her former big-screen son for an emotional chat about Back to the Future’s lasting appeal.
EW When was the last time you saw each other?
Michael J. Fox Before the summer, Lea was at a benefit for our foundation [the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research] in L.A. She and Meredith Baxter introduced me, and it was like my two moms. It was great!
EW Do you find that there’s a special place in people’s hearts for Back to the Future?
Lea Thompson Oh, yeah. It’s quite remarkable that it still endures.
MJF It fits, given the theme of the movie, that it’s cross-generational. In its own way it’s become like The Wizard of Oz or something. It’s something that kids love and don’t think about when it was made, and don’t think of it as an old movie.
LT Even though we kinda got the future wrong.
MJF We thought about faxes. We didn’t think about the Internet.
EW Do people recite lines to you, like ”Hello, McFly!”?
MJF I get a lot of that. But what I get is people wanting to talk about the space-time continuum and I’m just like, ”Dude, I was just in the movie. I don’t know.” There was a big fuss this summer about some date that was apparently on the flux capacitor that we reached. People wanted to have conversations with me about it and I was like, ”We can talk about the movie, but I have no idea about the inner geekdom.” I mean, God bless them.
EW If you guys had a time-traveling DeLorean, would you go into the past or the future?
LT I think I would go forward, but I love my life. I’m pretty happy right now.
MJF I did a TV movie with Woody Allen, and everyone was talking about where they would go if they went to another period of time, and then it got to him at the end and he just looked at everybody and said, ”No time before the invention of penicillin.” I borrow that from him.
EW Do you have a favorite scene from the movie?
MJF That bedroom scene [where young Lorraine attempts to seduce Marty] was just great.
LT That’s a funny scene.
MJF You were so great in that. All that stumbling around I did was a direct reaction to all the pressure Lea was putting on me with the eyes and the intensity of what she was doing. It was so fun to work with someone that good. LT [Wiping tears from her eyes and rubbing Fox’s arm] Aww. I’m getting verklemmt here.
EW Remakes of ’80s movies are all the rage now. What would you think about Hollywood remaking Back to the Future?
LT They’re remaking Red Dawn. I was in Red Dawn. Remaking Back to the Future? Well, they’d have to rethink the future now. I don’t know.
MJF It would be great…. For the record, I don’t want any job in it. I just wanna see it.