Christopher Lloyd on ’88’ and ‘Back to the Future’ coincidence
In his new film “88,” Christopher Lloyd plays a menacing character who is the polar opposite of good-natured Doc Brown from “Back to the Future.”
Yet he found himself thinking of the time-machine inventor when he signed on to the stylish suspense thriller. That’s because the number in the film’s title is the same speed in miles per hour that the “Back to the Future” time machine had to hit.
“I said, ’88, what kind of a coincidence is this?'” recalled Lloyd, referring to a chat with director April Mullen of Niagara Falls, Ont., and writer Tim Doiron of Fredericton.
“I didn’t say anything about what they might do about it, but it’s just a curiosity that the audience is going to have to come to terms with. I was fearful that it would detract, that someone would say, ’88, Chris Lloyd, he was Doc Brown, “Back to the Future.”‘ But they stuck with it and that’s fine. “I don’t feel it was in any way intentional. I think ’88’ was the title before I became involved.”
In fact, “88” refers to several parts of the film, including its runtime and the number of a motel room used by lead character Gwen (Katharine Isabelle).
The film flips back and forth between two timelines: One in which Gwen is a homicidal siren; and another in which she’s in a fugue state with no recollection of her deadly actions and a goal to find out who killed her boyfriend (played by Kyle Schmid). Lloyd, 76, plays a crime boss who is losing his wits and searching for Gwen.
“I love the opportunity to do the kind of roles that I haven’t done in the past and Cyrus is certainly a character I hadn’t been offered, so I jumped on it,” said the three-time Primetime Emmy nominee, whose other roles include Uncle Fester in “The Addams Family” and Judge Doom in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
Lloyd also worked with Mullen and Doiron in 2012’s “Dead Before Dawn 3D.” He praised Mullen‘s discipline, vision, confidence and drive as a director.
“She’s just doing it and it’s really great to see,” said Lloyd. “She’s not allowing herself to be pushed by money people and the studios and anything like that.
“She’s carving her own path and I love it. She’s great to work with. She knows how to direct, she knows how to make what she wants to see happen happen, and not everybody can do that. I wish her great success, which I’m sure she’ll attain.”
Shooting took place in Niagara Falls, Ont.
“I don’t tend to get out too much but I got down to see the falls,” said Lloyd. “I wanted to take the … (Maid of the Mist), but didn’t get to do that. But it was good.”
This July marks the 30th anniversary of “Back to the Future” and Lloyd said he plans to attend an anniversary parade in Las Vegas on May 15.
Don’t count on him being in the “Back to the Future” musical that’s in the works, though.
“I don’t quite see myself doing that,” he said with a chuckle. “I think Doc has to be a little younger, he has to dance and I think they expect him to sing and I’m not sure I fill the bill. So I’m not holding my breath, but I wish the project great success.”
“88” is set to screen across Canada on Wednesday as part of the Indie Canadian Film Series. It then opens in Toronto on Friday and in other cities through May 15.