Crispin Glover: Not the greedy bastard “Back to the Future” execs made him out to be

Uh oh. Marty McFly’s on the warpath.

Well, as warpath-like as a guy like Crispin Glover can get, anyway. In fact, Glover is the first celeb we ran into at MGM’s (awesome) press junket for their upcoming time-travel comedy “Hot Tub Time Machine,” and it’s in the ski shop, of all places. He had just done some skiing at Diamond Peak (yours truly was renting skis to hit those slopes the next day), and we made small talk about the movie, which we were seeing later that day. “I like it when people throw up,” he told me. Yes, but how did the squirrel feel about it?

As we gathered in the press room to talk to Glover – I was grouped with three other writers, whose names and publications I cannot remember except that one of them writes for Dark Horizons – we all expressed concern that we would not have enough questions to fill a 20-minute interview slot with him. Never fear – Glover would take care of that for us by giving us lengthy answers to even the simplest of questions. Towards the end, though, one of the other writers was feeling ballsy, so he went for it:

“Is there a bitterness at all on your part with the “Back to the Future” series, that you’re so recognized for that, and then what happened with the sequel, and them using your image and everything?”

What happened for the next seven minutes was, well, spectacular.

“On the DVD to the “Back to the Future” trilogy, Bob Gale, who’s one of the writers and executive producers, has said something that’s totally fabricated,” Glover told us. “What he said is that I asked for twice the money that Michael J. Fox asked for. I didn’t do that.”

Ah, but wait. Crispin was just getting warmed up.

Crispin chainsaw

“The way propaganda works, you hear the phrase, ‘the bigger the lie, the more people believe it.’ Basically, what was done was to obfuscate the fact that they had done something extremely wrong by taking another actor and putting him into false nose, chin and cheekbones in order to fool people into believing that I was in the film. This very specific lie that Bob Gale told on the DVD was specifically to not address that what they did was totally immoral and illegal.”

So why did the producers take such an aggressive stance towards their negotiations with Glover? As far as he’s concerned, it was for making an independent film after the runaway success of “Back to the Future,” rather than a studio film.

“In negotiations for the second film, they offered me less than half than any of the other actors that were being asked to come back, Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Tom Wilson. But I was offered…they had all done studio films, and they had made a lot of money. The film I had made between ‘Back to the Future Part I’ and ‘Part II’ was ‘River’s Edge,’ and I did that for scale. So they seemed to argue that it’s okay to offer me far less than any of the other actors that were coming back because I had done this independent art film – which I really like, I’m still very proud of it – but I was being penalized.”

So now we have a culprit and a motive. But Glover wasn’t finished.

“It was not fair, it was not a normal negotiation. And in fact, what normally happens is they’ll make an offer, you’ll make a counter-offer, and then you’ll meet in the middle, or something approximate to that. In this situation, they made an offer, and I didn’t even make a counter-offer. I just said, ‘That’s too low.’ At which point they came back at a lower offer. To me at this point, what was apparent was that they did not want me to be in the film or, if I was going to do it, that it was essentially a punishment that I was going to have to take less than half what everybody else was going to take in order to make the film. It just didn’t seem fair on any level.”

And he still wasn’t finished with Bob Gale.

“Bob Gale didn’t do this just on the DVDs, but he’s been going on radio shows [telling the same story]. I don’t know why.”

While we’re trying not to take sides here, it is important to consider that Glover has since gone on to work with Robert Zemeckis again (in the motion capture clusterfuck “Beowulf”), so clearly their working relationship was decent enough to earn a second go-round. Also, Glover has never had a problem finding work within the studio system since his falling out with the makers of “Back to the Future” – indeed, he just appeared in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” reboot – and in fact uses their money to finance his own films. His crackpot reputation may precede him, but the man we met in Lake Tahoe couldn’t have been more gracious or candid. And we wore a bitchin’ suit to the party Saturday night.

  

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