Back to “Back to the Future”

It’s the 25th anniversary of the science fiction comedy from Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. As you might also expect, a 3-disc Blu-Ray set is also hitting stores today featuring the original film and it’s two-sequels.

So, to go with Will Harris’s interview with Gale which includes some more interesting casting details in addition to the ones you’ve probably already heard about, Universal has made available a series of short clips from yesterday’s press conference at New York’s Waldorf Hotel featuring a lot of the cast — Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, and Mary Steenburgen (from “Back to the Future 3”) but not Crispin Glover — as well as Gale and Zemeckis. A lot of them are very brief and I would have been happier if they’d edited it into one clip, but you take what you can get.

We’ve got a bunch of more these after the flip for you diehard “Future” fans.

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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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2009: A Year’s Worth of Interviews – The Top 100 Quotes

Some people think that the life of a work-at-home entertainment writer is one of the most lax jobs out there, since the perception is generally is that all you do is sit around and watch DVDs, occasionally venture out of the house to see movies or concerts, and then sit in front of the computer and write about them. Okay, it’s a fair cop. But when you throw interviews into the mix, there’s a bit more work involved. First, you’ve got to get the interview (they aren’t always handed to you on a silver platter), then you’ve got to do the research to make sure that you can ask some halfway knowledgeable questions, and after you conduct the interview, let’s not forget that you’ve got to transcribe it, too. In other words, yes, there really is work involved…and when I went back and discovered that I’d done well over 130 interviews during the course of 2009, I suddenly realized why I’m so tired all the time.

For your reading enjoyment, I’ve pulled together a list of 100 of my favorite quotes from the various interviews I conducted for Premium Hollywood, Bullz-Eye, Popdose, and The Virginian-Pilot this year, along with the links to the original pieces where available. As you can see, I had some extremely interesting conversations in 2009. Let us all keep our fingers crossed that I’m able to chat with just as many fascinating individuals in 2010…

1. Pamela Adlon: “In the first season (of ‘Californication’), when we had the threesome with the nipple clamps, I was, like, ‘I don’t get this, I don’t know how you’re gonna do it.’ And then, all of a sudden, there’s a crane with a camera hanging over our heads, and you’re, like, ‘Okayyyyyyy. But how are you gonna sell this? How are you gonna make it work?’ And they ended up shooting it brilliantly, cutting it together, and it just all ended up working without me having to compromise my own personal morals.”

2. Jonathan Ames: “After my first novel, my mother said to me, ‘Why don’t you make your writing more funny? You’re so funny in person.’ Because my first novel was rather dark. And I don’t know, but something about what she said was true. ‘Yes, why don’t I?’ Maybe I was afraid to be funny in the writing. But since then, seven books later, almost everything I’ve done has a comedic edge to it.”

3. Ed Asner: “I loved journalism until the day my journalism teacher, a man I revered, came by my desk and said, ‘Are you planning on going into journalism?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘I wouldn’t.’ I said, ‘Well, why not?’ He said, ‘You can’t make a living.’”

4. Sean Astin: “When somebody brings up a movie (of mine) that I haven’t heard about in a long time, I feel like a 70-year-old pitcher at a bar somewhere, and somebody walks in and says, ‘Oh, my God, I was in St. Louis and I saw you. You pitched a shutout.’ It’s real. I really did do that, because someone today remembers it.”

5. Darryl Bell: “The legend of ‘Homeboys in Outer Space’ has become much more incendiary than the actual show. It’s funny how I usually challenge most people who talk about how much they disliked ‘Homeboys’ to name me five episodes. Most of them can’t, because they just bought into the ‘oh, it’s awful, just the title. Oh, it’s terrible.’ What’s interesting is that I had a great conversation with Chi McBride, who was doing ‘The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer,’ which, if you want to talk about in terms of the imagery of what was wrong, that show was much more infamous than ‘Homeboys.’ Yet it’s not remembered in the same way because the title didn’t grab you in the same way. I remember Chi pulled me aside and he was, like, ‘Look, everyone who is criticizing what you’re doing would take your job from you in two seconds. All of them. So all I can tell you is that this is one blip on both of our careers, and we are moving on.’”

6. Adam Campbell: “For some reason, people always pick on the British sensibility, and we always come across as stupid, but remember: we used to run this country!”

7. Nestor Carbonell: “Let me make this perfectly clear: I do not wear make-up, and I do not wear eye-liner. This is something I’ve had to deal with my whole life. I remember I was in college in Boston, I had a commercial agent, and they sent me out for some print commercial stuff. And they called me into the office and said, ‘Look, we called you in to talk to you because we just want you to know that…well, we don’t think you need to wear eyeliner.’ And I’m, like, ‘What?’ ‘Yeah, it’s okay, you don’t have to wear it for print ads.’ ‘No, I’m not wearing eyeliner!’ And I kept dabbing my eyes and saying, ‘Look! No eyeliner! I’m not wearing any!’”

8. Elaine Cassidy: “The last two days of shooting (‘Harper’s Island’) was probably the most hardcore, the coldest anyone has ever been. It was like your head was freezing, and my motivation for most scenes was, ‘The minute this scene is over, I’m heading straight over to that heater to get warm.’”

9. Chris Cornell: “I started as a drummer, so I sort of took on singing duties by default. I had sung backgrounds and some lead vocals from behind the drums in different bands that I’d been in, and I’d gotten great responses for the songs I would sing. I really started pursuing the possibility of being a lead singer based on the fact that I was working a full-time restaurant job and then playing gigs at night, hauling drums around. One day, it just dawned on me that, ‘Hey, I could be in a band and be the singer, and it would be a lot easier!’”

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Welcome to the Concession Stand

Welcome to a new feature here on Premium Hollywood…and, believe me, it’s one I’ve been wanting to premiere for quite some time. I’m someone who enjoys trying new foods and new beverages, and I’ve often thought it would be fun to write a column which gave me the opportunity to write about the experience. Unfortunately, I’m forever buried in DVDs that need to be reviewed. Finally, I had an epiphany: why don’t I figure out a way to combine the two?

And, thus, “Concession Stand” was born.

The beverage: Mountain Dew Voltage.

Last year, over a quarter million votes helped Voltage win the so-called “DEWmocracy” election, with the taste, name and color of the product all developed by the customers themselves…well, y’know, with a little help from the folks at PepsiCo. (What, like they’re gonna give the yokels all the power?) As the bottle proudly trumpets, it’s your standard Dew brew, but charged with raspberry citrus flavor and ginseng. The color of the beverage is a slightly disconcerting shade of blue, but the raspberry mixes with the traditional Dew flavor rather well, making the taste not so far removed from a Sweet Tart. If it’s icy cold, it goes down fast and smooth…which is good, since it’s so sweet that drinking it slowly may result in you taking awhile to finish the bottle, but caffeine fiends with a sweet tooth will have no problem chugging it down to score the inevitable rush.

When I was pitched the opportunity to check out Voltage, they sent me three bottles of the stuff, so I scoured my to-be-reviewed pile to see if I had three DVDs featuring the same person in some role or other. Lo and behold, I did…and that person’s name was Lea Thompson.

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