New Doc Brown Actor Discusses ‘Back to the Future’ Reboot

in Movies & TV

Doc Brown prepping the DeLorean for time travel in 'Back to the Future'

Credit: Universal Studios

For 38 years, Back to the Future (1985) has remained sacred, untouched by the dreaded Hollywood knife. The film series goes no further than its two equally beloved sequels, Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990).

Outside the films, however, the franchise has enjoyed many other forms of media. Meanwhile, there have been talks about remaking the original film over the decades, an idea the films’ creators Bob Gale (writer/producer) and Robert Zemeckis (writer/director) continue to condemn.

Marty looks through a camera while Doc Brown holds a remote in 'Back to the Future'
Credit: Universal Studios

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But while most fans (perhaps all of them) are dead against the idea of Back to the Future being rebooted in any way, shape, or form, the film series’ two leading actors happen to be all for it.

Earlier this year, Michael J Fox, who plays Marty McFly in the Back to the Future films, put forward the idea of a female-led reboot or sequel, while Christopher Lloyd, who plays Doc Emmett Brown, threw his hat in the ring to return in a potential follow-up.

Michael J Fox as Marty McFly in 'Back to the Future'
Credit: Universal Studios

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The idea of a beloved classic being rebooted is always difficult to accept, but when you take the silver screen and the small screen out of the equation, a new adaptation is easier to swallow, whether it’s a book or some other form of media.

In the case of the film in question, it’s Back to the Future: The Musical (2020).

The West End stage play has been transporting audiences back in time for three years, first at the Manchester Opera House in the UK and for the last two years at London’s Adelphi Theater. And now it’s hitting 88 miler per hour at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theater.

Michael J Fox as Marty McFly in 'Back to the Future'
Credit: Universal Studios

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You might not think Back to the Future: The Musical is a reboot, but the production is a musical version of the iconic 1985 film that features an all-new cast and some changes to the plot that make the story more suitable for a modern audience.

A “reboot” isn’t exclusive to the screen — it’s a way for an existing franchise to be re-branded for a new audience without abandoning all the familiar elements that would attract the existing fanbase, while discarding previously established continuity.

Doc Brown looking confused in 'Back to the Future' (1985)
Credit: Universal Studios

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Back to the Future: The Musical features an entirely new cast, including the beloved characters Marty McFly and Doc Brown, played by Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd, respectively, in all three Back to the Future films.

It isn’t easy to imagine anyone else playing these beloved characters, but Marty McFly and Doc Brown have already been played by more than one actor since Back to the Future: The Musical first appeared on stage.

Doc Brown and Marty McFly in a 'Back to the Future: The Musical' promo shot
Credit: Back to the Future – The Musical

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In London, Marty McFly and Doc Brown are currently being played by Ben Joyce and Cory English, respectively. In the US, Casey Likes and Roger Bart have taken up the mantle — although this isn’t Bart’s first rodeo as the time-traveling scientist.

Bart left the UK production earlier this year to prep his DeLorean for the Broadway version. The actor, previously best known for the American drama series Desperate Housewives (2004 — 2012), has now talked at great length about his role in the musical stage play.

Christopher Lloyd and Michael J Fox in 'Back to the Future'
Credit: Universal Studios

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In an interview with Backstage magazine, Bart, 61, was asked what it’s like to star in such a large-scale show. He talks about how he’s received a lot of love from fans for his portrayal of Doc Brown while citing Christopher Lloyd’s performance, saying:

“I love big, giant shows. Playing to [both] large houses and small ones [is] fantastic. But something large in the sense of notoriety—[Back to the Future] being a known entity and beloved thing—that’s fantastic. I have a lot of love coming at me, just from coming out of that DeLorean and doing what Christopher Lloyd did, what he created. And then it’s up to me to make it my own and, hopefully, entertain people.”

Doc Brown looking shocked in 'Back to the Future'
Credit: Universal Studios

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Bart certainly brings his own spin to the role of Doc Brown. Characters like Marty McFly are played in line with their on-screen counterparts, however, Bart’s Doc is much more “out there”, which makes for some great laugh-out-loud moments.

“All of these scenes are subtly different from the movie, so you can’t help but play things differently,” Bart explains, “because you’re presented with different situations. I was trained in the Meisner technique, so we try to talk and listen and understand our situation and the stakes. You just kind of let it fly; and if you’re trying to be honest from your unique perspective, then inevitably, you’re going to make it different.”

Michael J Fox as Marty McFly in 'Back to the Future'
Credit: Universal Studios

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Bart talks about his chemistry with his co-star Casey Likes, explaining that “there’s a genuine fondness” between them which is “fun to bring to the stage.”

Before moving over to Broadway and pairing up with Likes, Bart performed in the London production 520 times .

While Back to the Future: The Musical is currently wowing audiences on Broadway, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Despite taking $1 million in previews during its first week at the Winter Garden Theater, the show got off to a rocky start with critics.

Check out the trailer for Broadway’s Back to the Future: The Musical below, in which Christopher Lloyd passes the torch to Roger Bart:

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As per the official website, here’s the synopsis for the show:

Great Scott! The multi-award-winning Back to the Future: The Musical is changing Broadway musical theatre history.

When Marty McFly finds himself transported back to 1955 in a time machine built by the eccentric scientist Doc Brown, he accidentally changes the course of history. Now he’s in a race against time to fix the present, escape the past, and send himself… back to the future.

Experience this high-voltage comedy as the iconic story is adapted for the stage by the movie’s creators, Bob Gale (Back to the Future trilogy) and Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) and is directed by the Tony Award-winning John Rando.

Back to the Future the Musical features original music by multi-Grammy winners Alan Silvestri (Avengers: Endgame) and Glen Ballard (Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror), alongside hit songs from the movie including The Power of Love, Johnny B. Goode, Earth Angel and Back in Time.

When BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE MUSICAL hits 88mph, you’re gonna see some serious… entertainment.

Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future' re-creation
Credit: Universal Studios

Written by Bob Gale, with music and lyrics by composer Alan Silvestri (who also scored the films) and Glen Ballard, Back to the Future: The Musical is an excellent re-telling of the iconic 1985 film of the same name, with an all-new cast and some fun alterations.

The Broadway cast includes The Devil Wears Prada‘s Liana Hunt as Lorraine Baines, Les Miserables’ Nathaniel Hackmann as Biff Tannen, Ain’t Too Proud‘s Jelani Remy in the dual roles of Goldie Wilson and Marvin Berry, and Almost Famous’ Casey Likes as Marty McFly.

Hugh Coles and Roger Bart reprise their roles from the West End version of the show as George McFly and Doc Brown, respectively, both of whom have now been replaced by Oliver Nicholas and Cory English in the London production.

Back to the Future: The Musical is now showing in the West End and on Broadway. A North American tour has been set for 2024.

Have you seen Roger Bart’s portrayal of Doc Brown yet? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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