Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh was offered the role of Doc Brown in ‘Back to the Future’

Back to the Future fans probably couldn’t imagine the film without Christopher Lloyd playing Doc Brown, but it turns out he may not have been the first choice for the role.

While at the Sundance Film Festival, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo told The Wrap he was originally offered the part by the film’s producer Steven Spielberg and director Robert Zemeckis.

Mothersbaugh says Spielberg and Zemeckis attended one of Devo’s shows, and at the end of the night they came up to him and said they wanted to talk to him about working on their film. He was convinced they were going to ask him to do the score, so he was totally surprised by their offer.

“I went into this meeting and they said, ‘Well, we love what you do on stage. We love the way your band looks. We want you to be sort of a crazy mad scientist in this film we’re doing,”’ he shared. When he asked them what they meant, they told him, “There’s a part in the film of a guy who runs around in a lab coat and he has a car that goes through time. We want you to play that part.” 

But Mothersbaugh had no interest, telling them, “I don’t want to act in a movie.” When they argued he already acts onstage, Mothersbaugh countered, “Well, we make that stuff up ourselves.”

And while Mothersbuagh didn’t do the film, a quick reference to Devo is featured in the movie: Marty, played by Michael J. Fox, comments, “What is this Devo?” when he sees Doc’s contamination suit. That clip now appears in the new documentary Devo, which had its debut at the Sundance Film Festival.

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