“This is the best day ever,” actress Lea Thompson said as she stepped out of a DeLorean behind the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle Saturday night. A fleet of 22 more DeLoreans surrounded her. “They’ve had babies,” she said.
A few minutes later the 23 DeLoreans – one holding Thompson – were headed to the SIFF Cinema at the Uptown for a showing of the classic 1985 movie, “Back to the Future.”
Thompson, who played Lorraine in the film, had a short Q and A before the screening. She will have an hour-long panel talk on Sunday at Emerald City Comicon. Thompson replaced fellow “Future” actor Christopher Lloyd who had to cancel his ECCC appearance after booking a new sitcom.
At Saturday’s Q and A before a sold out crowd Thompson talked about the movie’s enduring popularity and threw in a few facts. She said the first six weeks of shooting the movie were with actor Eric Stoltz playing the Marty McFly role. Stoltz’s take was too serious and he ended up getting fired and replaced by Michael J. Fox.
“He wasn’t a natural comedian like Michael Fox was,” Thompson said.
Thompson said she was the first choice to play Lorraine. “For some reason I really got the part,” she said. Meaning: she could play young and sexy as well as middle aged and frumpy. The producers were dead set on having the same actors play both generations of their roles, she said.
The movie was in theaters an amazing six weeks after it wrapped, Thompson said. The studio knew they had a winner on their hands and indeed it was. It was the number one movie that summer.
The cast likes hearing that the film is beloved, Thompson said, and that new generations are discovering it.
“That means so much to us.”
The cars were provided by the Northwest DeLorean Club. As they made their way to the theater Saturday night they literally stopped passersby in their tracks.
That’s typical, said DeLorean owner Dave Jacobs of Sammamish. He has to allow himself extra travel time when he takes his car out just to accommodate eager car enthusiasts. “I’ve met a lot of interesting people with this car,” he said.
“Sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes I just want to get gas,” he said as he drove to the theater with a journalist passenger. People stopped in crosswalks and hung from car windows to gawk.
Several of the cars were sporting flux capacitors but not his. Still, Jacobs said he was a “Future” fan. “You kind of have to be if you own this car.”
Fellow DeLorean owner Faisal Jaswal of Oak Harbor was driving a newly rebuilt 1981 turbo 236 hp version – the seventh he’s owned. He sold his last one to the new LeMay auto museum in Tacoma.
“There’s nothing like it on the road. Driving it is like being inside a spaceship.”
Or a time machine.