The names Marty McFly and Doc Brown are as important to time travel as Issac Newton is to gravity and Neil Armstrong is to moon landing. In Caseen Gaines’ We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy, the author tries to explain why everyone who has seen the film must read about its making and what happened behind the scenes. Trust me, this book is as important to read as watching the trilogy, as it makes you realize how hard the makers fought their case for a screenplay that wasn’t approved by anyone, a title that wasn’t liked by the studio and an actor who was anything but the Marty they had in mind.
Those crazy enough to watch the trilogy multiple times know that Michael J Fox wasn’t the first actor to shoot as Marty McFly or that Crispin Glover was axed from the last two films because of his troublesome attitude. However, not everyone knows that the makers had no intention of making a sequel, the hover board chase in the second film went horribly wrong in the first try and that the biggest issue with the ‘Lightning Hits Clock Tower sequence’ was that Christopher Lloyd was afraid of heights. Great Scott, literally!
This book is one of those delightful collector’s items that doesn’t need pictures to increase the readers’ imagination. In fact, the whole trilogy can be visualized while you are reading the book, it has been penned so brilliantly. What made Steven Spielberg associate with the film in the first place, how the makers got rid of Eric Stoltz who was too stiff to play Marty and then how they reshot the sequences with MJF, and why Crispin Glover took it as an insult when a lookalike was used to fill his place in the sequels, this book tells you all there is to know about the behind the scene happenings of what went onto become the greatest time travel movie of all times!
The memoir also goes back in time and talks to all those involved with the film, including writers Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, most of the cast members (current and archival quotes), the crew and above all, it talks about the most important aspect of the trilogy, the DeLorean. The narrative is so ‘cool’ that you don’t feel like putting down the book at any given time. The pop culture references, the attention to detail and the way inconsistencies in the filmmaking process were presented in a positive light are the reason why this book is worth every second of your time.
Everyone who was seen the film wants to know how the makers were able to make the 1985 Marty McFly get the cap off his son in 2015, how they were able to predict the future so correctly and what were the reasons behind using Michael J Fox as Marty’s great-grandfather in Number 3 as the third film was known in its initial stages. This book answers all your queries and you will be surprised to know things that no one else does about the trilogy that made Time Travel seem possible even at that time. I read it in a couple of days… let’s see how much time you take to take a trip to the past and then back to the future!
Omair Alavi is a freelance broadcast journalist who can be contacted at [email protected]