Exclusive Interview: Christopher Lloyd on Dead Before Dawn & His Career

Dead Before Dawn Christopher Lloyd

My quest to incept a Back to the Future IV into existence continues as I got the chance to interview Christopher Lloyd and suggest the impending year 2015 should be addressed. I have always wanted to talk to Lloyd regardless of my agenda because he’s been such a part of the movies that meant a lot to me growing up. Of course Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Addams Family Values and even smaller favorites like The Dream Team and Suburban Commando.

My chance came when the DVD and Blu-ray release of Dead Before Dawn 3D approached. Lloyd plays Horus Galloway, an occult shopkeeper whose grandson accidentally unleashes a curse that creates zombie demons. The film is now available on 3D and standard Blu-ray and DVD, and I got to interview Lloyd by phone about his latest role, and all his classics.

CraveOnline: Explaining the curse in Dead Before Dawn reminded me you had a lot of explaining to do in the Back to the Future movies. Are you good at that?

Christopher Lloyd: Yeah, I think it’s great to be able to explain why you’re doing something and how it’s being done. Doc Brown has these long expositional speeches to explain to Marty, and by explaining to Marty explain to the audience what’s happening, why it’s happening. The challenge sometimes with exposition, writers will write exposition and it sort of falls flat because the action of the story stops while we get information. The challenge with Doc Brown was to bring all that to life. He had to say these things in order to get to the next step, so it was integral and not just a set piece of information being presented. That’s true of a lot of things that I’ve done because a lot of things I do, parts I’ve played, require those kind of lines and speeches so that the audience is not left in the dark as to why or how it’s happening.

Do you always understand all the dialogue you’re given?

Yes. I read them, I look at them, I study them and I find a way to make them organic and necessary as much as possible.

Were you involved in creating the look of Horace Galloway?

Yes, I always, one of the first things I’m thinking about from the first meetings is what am I going to look like? How do I talk? Do I have some physical characteristic? I’ll usually discuss that with the director and sometimes we don’t see eye to eye and we come to some common understanding about what we’re going to do.

Is it important to you that every character you play looks different?

Yeah, it is. I don’t like to repeat myself. No two people in life are the same. There’s always something different about even twins. Biological twins have something about each of them that is different from the other. It might be very subtle and it may not be so subtle. I just feel that no two people are exactly the same and I try to take advantage of that.

With director April Mullen and the cast of Dead Before Dawn, do you often find yourself in a lot of movies where you’re introducing a new generation to audiences?

I hope to be able to work in a way that inspires them to work to their best. I feel that’s something I hope I can offer, even though they’re very young people. I want to first of all be there and know my lines and seem like I know what I’m doing technically, because I know in many instances they’re looking up to an actor who’s been working for some time. I feel that’s a responsibility.

Dead Before Dawn wasn’t your first 3D movie. You did Piranha and some 3D shorts. How do you feel about working in 3D?

You know, I get asked that, about working in 3D and the difference. I don’t really, for me as an actor, notice much difference. It has to be a little more exacting perhaps with their blocking. It has to be a little more precise. Other than that, I don’t feel much difference. The director says action and I do what I do when somebody yells action. So it seems pretty much the same.

You can tell I’m a big Back to the Future fan and I adore those movies. I know Robert Zemeckis doesn’t want to do another one, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to do Back to the Future IV in the real 2015 and send a new kid back to 1985?

It could be a new kid or it could be Michael J. Fox again. Michael is out there working. He’s got a new series about to launch. It could be great for us to be back together again.

Especially because 2015 was a significant year in the series.

Yeah, it’s possible. It’s possible.

Except that Robert Zemeckis definitively doesn’t want to do it.

Well, I also got a feeling when they finished Back to the Future III that the creators, Bob Gale, Bob Zemeckis and everyone else, felt that they had given their best to the trilogy and that to go further might be belaboring it a bit. They may have been wise to let it rest with the end of Back to the Future III but if they come up in their minds with something that carries the story further and makes it new, with new characters and new circumstances, that’d be great. Unless they really feel that a fourth sequel would add to the three in a really strong way, it’s best just to leave it be and be happy with what they did.

On the last Blu-ray they released, they showed a little bit of the scenes Eric Stoltz shot before Michael J. Fox came on. Have you ever seen those full scenes?

With Eric Stoltz? I’ve never seen those scenes.