An Actor’s Perspective: Tom Wilson on Back to the Future

The podcast I Was There Too, hosted by Matt Gourley, recently had Tom Wilson, who played Biff and the various iterations in the Back to the Future trilogyIn the show, Tom talks about  his personal experience post- Future, and how he deals with the constant questions he is asked:

“The first thing that I did was write a song, called Biff’s Question Song…and really, when I meet people now…they’re not meeting a person; they’re meeting a pop culture icon that they have a series of questions for.”

This kind of response is admirable and unique to most actors, most of whom shut down their fans. If it sounds cynical, it’s because it is, because it’s true. Most actors don’t like talking about their work, they like, as Wilson points out, to be asked how their day was, to be treated like a person. Wilson goes on to talk about the things that he finds interesting about the films, in particularly giving praise to Crispin Glover, who played George McFly.

This is important to note because it is very telling about the culture of Hollywood and the dangers of typecasting. It is also telling of popular culture, specifically popular culture fans, and while it may be slightly demonizing, this is far from Wilson’s attitude, who actually enjoys answering questions, as long as “it is in an artistic way”. Wilson’s comments on Glover also reveal a desire for people to look at Back to the Future as a series of moving parts, each one independent of all the others, yet with one piece missing, the whole thing falls apart. A good example of this is Glover himself, who is notably absent from Back to the Future II and III, as Wilson notes:

“His story is really the movie in a sense. But his son,  the star of the movie, is helping his dad to get the guts to stand on his two feet and start his future”.

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