An Interview With Brad Gilmore: Author of “Back From the Future”

35 years ago, a little time travel movie came out that pretty much rocked us to our core. There have been a lot of features and tributes to Back to the Future, but one of the best things out there is the book, “Back From the Future” by Brad Gilmore.

I reached out to Brad to talk about the book, the movie, and his insights into all things Back to the Future.

Here’s a few more details on Brad:

He’s a radio and television host from Houston and host of the Brad Gilmore Show which is all about sports, music and pop culutre. He’s big into wrestling and hosts “The Hall of Fame” with the great WWE Hall of Famer: Booker T.

He hosts sveral podcasts including The Art of Wrestling, Movie Trivia Schmoedown, Schmoedown Rundown, Heated Conversations, and Back to the Future: The Podcast.

O.K, let’s get to Brad.

Q: How did the book come together from the initial idea to it being available to buy?

It started ironically in the year 2015. I was listening to a lot of podcasts at the time and I was listening to this Seinfeld podcast called Seincast.  I was listening to it and I loved it as I’m such a big Seinfeld fan and I was thinking: I wish there was a Back to the Future podcast like this–there must be.

So I went to the Apple podcast to try to find a Back to the Future podcast–but couldn’t find it. I thought, wow there isn’t a Back to the Future podcast. I was doing radio at the time and thought; wait a minute, I could do the Back to the Future podcast and so that’s when I started the show Back to the Future: the podcast 

I reached out to a few people like Claudia Wells (who played Jennifer Parker) and Jeffrey Weissman who was a replacement for Crispin Glover in Back to the Future Part 2 and 3 and I was really excited to talk to them and reached out and had them on the show. So that started the ball rolling and then a friend of mine, Ken Napzok, whose quote is on the front cover of the book reached out to me.

So I pitched a couple of ideas, I had this wrestling idea book and then I got this one for Back to the Future, and he said write up a pitch for that so I wrote a pitch, I sent it off to them and boom–next thing you know they said: “let’s write the book.”

I started writing the book in June of 2019, I turned in the manuscript in late December or early January 2020, I can’t remember exactly, and there it was: published in April.

Q: Why do you think Back to the Future holds up so well over the years and almost gets better with age?

That’s a great question. It’s something I thought a lot about and I think it’s because it’s so generational. Everybody has thought about Bob Gale’s initial thought when he found a yearbook in his parent’s attic and saw that his dad was class president, and said man, “I don’t remember the president of my graduating class, I never would have anything to do with him–and my dad was class president?

 He started thinking: I wonder if I would have been friends with my dad if we went to High School together, and that was the genesis of the idea for Back to the Future. 

I think that’s why it’s always gotten better with age as you say because as time goes on, you start thinking more about your family and the relationships you have with your family.  And what if I could go back to the ninth grade and ask that girl out, or what if I could go back and punch that guy in the face that was always an a-hole to me.

You start thinking about these things and they really resonate with you and you wonder, how were my parents? What struggles did they go through?  So it’s generational experience and then you throw in this element of this fantastical story of this doctor inventing a time machine, and it’s just one of these things with those familial connections, and the generational aspects of the film.

And then there’s just the badass-ness of that  DeLorean time machine and being able to travel back and forth through time.  It’s always going to be a relevant film.

Q. What are some of your favorite behind the scenes, and fun facts from the trilogy?

 I told this story on the Chris Jericho podcast that I did, but the story that is told about Sid Sheinberg (who was a studio executive). He said the perfect title for this movie is not Back to the Future. Back to the Future, that doesn’t make any sense, how can you go back to the future? 

He said the perfect name for this movie was based on the comic book that Old Man Peabody’s son had, Sherman (his son isn’t named but credited as Sherman which is a great tribute to Peabody and Sherman the time-traveling duo from Rocky & Bullwinkle.) 

It was “Spaceman From Pluto” (actually his comic was “Space Zombies from Pluto”) but the perfect title for this movie would be “Spaceman From Pluto.”

 Steven Spielberg wrote him a note back saying, “thank you for sending that over, It’s been a hectic production, that was such a great laugh, we really needed to start our morning off like that–thank you so much.”

 And I just love that that was going to be the title of the movie,  “Spaceman From Pluto,” Insane! Aside from that, there are all kinds of  things that you can go into especially the Easter eggs of the movies when you look into it, there’s a lot of stuff like that but that “Spaceman From Pluto” is just hilarious to me. 

Check out 21 things you may have missed in Back to the Future in my blog here.

Q: My ranking of the trilogy always seems to change. Right now, I rank them 2-1-3. Considering that your perspective constantly changes, how do you rank the movies of the trilogy right now?

As a kid, my favorite one was Back to the Future 3. I really loved Back to the Future 3. I don’t know if that’s because I’m from Texas and we grow up with westerns, and there’s some kind of connection there–but I Love Back to the Future 3.

But If I was to rank them, I think the order in which they were released is probably the best ranking. Sometimes I put 3 above 2, sometimes I put 2 above 1, but right now if you would ask me, it’s Back to the Future 1 because it’s a perfect film.

You can never ever say that there’s a flaw in Back to the Future Part 1. And in Back to the Future 2 and 3, they’re almost the same movie to me. It reminds me of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. If you watch them back-to-back, it’s like one long perfect movie, and that’s what I think of Back to the Future 2 and 3: they’re this one long film.

But 2 just for seeing the inventiveness of seeing the future that wasn’t just a dystopian future and then going back to an alternate 1985, and then you’ve got to go back into the first movie to fix all the issues. And then Doc gets struck by lightning. It was just a sequence of events that continued on and keeps you engaged; that’s why I like that one.

Again, Back to the Future 3, the Western elements of it and it being most similar to Back to the Future 1 with Marty and Doc stuck in the past without a clear way to get back to the future. So that’s why I really love all three of them, but that’s my ranking right now.

Q: I know people don’t want to hear any talk of a sequel, but it seems like there is the possibility that it could work. When we look at the premise of Ghostbuster: Afterlife, it feels like that approach could work.

Also, Tom Holland seems like he could perfectly capture the essence of Marty McFly. Do you think any form of sequel/reboot is doable, and should it even be considered–or left alone forever?

 I guess anything is possible. Is it likely? As long as Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale are around I don’t see it happening.  But there’s so much money in a Back to the Future property and everything else under the sun has been rebooted so I wouldn’t be shocked if it eventually does happen. 

You mention Ghostbusters, when I saw them do the all-female Ghostbusters movie “Answer the Call” (I think is what it’s been subsequently subtitled) I didn’t love it by any stretch of the imagination. I actually didn’t like it. I thought was kind of silly and not in a good way.

 I went home and I watched the original Ghostbusters and realize my love for that movie didn’t change at all so for a new Back to the Future, if they make a new Back to the Future movie and it’s awesome–holy hell, I’ve got a new Back to the Future! Great Scott, that’s awesome.

 But if they make it and it sucks, well I never have to watch it again and I still love those first three movies.  So I’m not rooting for it , but I’m open to it.

Q. Any plans for future additions or related Back to the Future books? 

I’ve got ideas for other books. I mentioned James Bond and remembered how Daniel Craig did Spectre. They announced it, filmed it, and released it all in the same year.  I think they announced it November it came out in an 11th-month process. They asked him, “would you ever do another James Bond?” and he said, “I’d rather smashed the glass in front of me on this table and slit my wrists than to ever do another James Bond movie.”

 That was him just him talking about the frustrations of this Bond movie and the agony of having to do this Bond movie in one year. And then we see he’s going to be coming out with “No Time to Die” hopefully by the end of the year, maybe next year.

So he came around to it. I, like Daniel Craig, though I would never want to write a book again, and then it was three months probably later I was like, “I’ve got an idea for a book…” so  I wouldn’t be shocked if I commit myself to another project. 

Whether that’s going to be  Back to the Future related or some other film franchise or even wrestling for that matter, I don’t know at this point. But I would like to do more on Back to the Future maybe in another 5 years. Maybe release a second edition of the book that has a little bit more in it, but as for now, there’s no more Back to the Future plans.

Q: An early draft of Back to the Future had the use of “Rock Around the Clock” instead of “Johnny B. Goode.” That’s just one example of many scenarios considered for the movie. Were there any ideas that only existed on paper that you would have liked to have seen in the final film?

No, there’s nothing that they included in the scripts that I wanted in the final version because all the changes they made were right. It was Professor Brown instead of Doc Brown that they made the right choice in the script. It was the Springtime in Paris dance as opposed to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance: great choice.

It was a Spaceman From Pluto then Back to the Future.  I don’t think there’s anything that they left in the original script that I wanted in there. However, I do have a chapter in the book called American Time Story: Old Man Biff, and what that’s about is about a deleted scene in Back to the Future 2 that I thought was paramount to being left in the film, and they actually cut it. So that is definitely one that I wish they left in the movie.

Here’s Where You Can Check Out Brad & Get “Back From the Future” for Yourself