back to the future
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Christopher Lloyd revisits a huge part of his past in the new discovery+ series “Expedition Unknown: Back to the Future,” hosted by Josh Gates.
The four-part series, premiering Monday, March 15, follows Gates and Lloyd — who played befuddled genius inventor Doc Brown in “Back to the Future” opposite Michael J. Fox’s teenaged Marty McFly — as they search for the futuristic time-traveling DeLorean cars (there were seven in all) used in the iconic movie trilogy.
The original 1981 DeLorean Automatic will be auctioned on Charibybuzz.com starting March 15 to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson’s Research. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 when he was 29 years old (he also appears in the series).
“We’ve been able to maintain a friendship, so it’s great,” Lloyd, 82, told The Post. “He has a poker game event that raises funds for his charity and I’ve participated in that a couple of times, and a few other instances [in] raising money for his charity.
“I love Michael and I see him pretty often,” Lloyd said. “He is so durable and gracious and has such a wonderful sense of humor and perspective about all of that. I’m very happy to be able to contribute.”
As the series opens, Lloyd and Gates, the longtime host of Discovery’s “Investigation Unknown,” embark on a mission to locate all seven DeLoreans from the “Back to the Future” trilogy. “I haven’t done anything to keep track of them — where they are, what condition they’re in — so that was the adventure of doing this show,” Lloyd said. “We went to where we could find hose original seven cars…and found out the history of each one.
“There’s one place that’s on a farm in Western Massachusetts [Hubbardstown] where the farm’s owner and his family have made it their passion to collect memorabilia from the films and it’s an incredible collection.”
The episodes are part meta — Lloyd plays himself and Doc Brown — and part comic travelogue, as he and the enthusiastic Gates traverse the country (including stops in Orlando, Beverly Hills and Houston) on their mission while visiting collectors, and museums, dedicated to preserving the movies’ legacy.
“The thing about Chris is that even though he’s not at all manic like Doc, he just IS Doc,” Gates said over e-mail. “You see him and hear his voice, and it’s impossible not to feel like you’re standing next to Emmett Brown. So every day, I’d look over and think, ‘Whoa, this is heavy.’ He deserves an award for putting up with my fanboying.
“To work alongside Chris on an expedition to benefit Michael J. Fox’s foundation? It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Lloyd even wears Doc Brown’s colorful shirt from the original flick. “That was the only [item of clothing] I kept from the movie,” he said. “I can’t say that I wear it often because it brings a lot of attention to my wife [Lisa] and I, so we kind of skirt that. But it’s hanging in my closet and I see it everyday.”
He also gets the chance to sit behind the wheel of the DeLorean used in the original 1985 movie. “That place doesn’t exist anymore but in that car,” he said. “The DeLorean was such a good choice. It looked spacey and futuristic. Over the years so many people have come up to me and expressed how ‘Back to the Future’ made their childhood — especially people from impoverished areas who said they were inspired by the film to become doctors, physicists, etc. And I’m so grateful for that.
“People love love stories about being a mentor to a young person, and Doc Brown is a mentor to Michael [as McFly]. People are fascinated by that connection, this guy who makes clocks and has this strange car…I know, in my own life, there were people when I was growing up who seemed to be plugged into this extraordinary, unique reality that fascinated me.
“Back to the Future’ has that power — and that’s what makes it so compelling to me.”
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