You know that scene in “Back to the Future” when Marty is voicing his insecurities about his future in music and why he’s afraid to send his audition tape to some industry folk? (“What if they say, ‘Get outta here, kid. You got no future’?”) Apparently, that was Michael J. Fox in real-life during much of the “Back to the Future” shoot, having overworked himself to the point where he could no longer tell if his acting as Marty was even any good. As someone who makes a living writing and editing, I know that feeling all too well.
That finally changed when Fox unintentionally caught “Back to the Future” on TV a few years back:
“It was Christmas. We were decorating the tree. […] I went to go get something from the kitchen and I was gone quite a while. Tracy [Fox’s wife Tracy Pollan] came and found me and I was watching TV. I said, ‘Look, ‘Back To The Future’ [is] on TV! You know what, I’m really good in this!’ She said, ‘Yeah, we know.’ ‘Well, why didn’t you tell me?!'”
Echoing Marty’s lack of self-confidence, Fox feared his performance would turn out terrible, so much so that the actor said, “I’d go back to the back of the pack and start again.” Fox didn’t necessarily assume he had anything to do with the film’s success, either. To be fair, the actor (then in his mid-20s) had other concerns on his mind at the time. He recalled being in London when he heard the exciting news:
“My agent said, ‘You don’t understand. This is the biggest thing in the world.’ My first instinct was, ‘I have to get back to America! There are girls to meet!'”
Spoken like a real-life Marty McFly.