Entertainment, Movies and TV

Michael J. Fox Talks About Learning to Play Guitar for the Famous BACK TO THE FUTURE 'Johnny B. Goode' Scene

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Back to the Future is a classic movie that fans are still enjoying decades later. The whole film is filled with quotable lines, the best music, and exciting scenes that have held up great over the years. One scene that is really fun is the one in which Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, is filling in for the guitarist at a school dance, and plays the song “Johnny B. Goode.” The best part about the scene is when the band member he is filling in for, who happens to be named Marvin Berry, calls his cousin Chuck to make him listen to the song, as he thinks it’s the “new sound he’s been looking for.”

Apparently, Fox wanted the scene to look authentic, so he signed up for guitar lessons and told director Robert Zemeckis he could count on him, which really put the pressure on to perform it perfectly! Here’s what he recently told Empire about the experience:

“When I did the ‘Johnny B. Goode’ scene, I had a great guitar teacher who taught me how to play. I said to Bob [Zemeckis], ‘When I do this scene, I play guitar, so you can finger sync me. Feel free to cut to my hands any time you want.’ Having said that, it put pressure on me to get it fucking right. So I had this guy named Paul Hanson, who was my guitar teacher.”

But pulling the scene off didn’t just mean playing the song – it meant moving like a rock god while doing it. ”For about four weeks we worked this piece and at the same time I was working with this choreographer for Madonna. I said, ‘I dance like a duck. I can’t dance. But what I’d like to do is incorporate all the characteristics and mannerisms and quirks of my favourite guitarists, so a Pete Townshend windmill, and Jimi Hendrix behind the back, and a Chuck Berry duck walk.’ And we worked all that in, and he made it flow. It was moments like that when you don’t think, I’m tired or I feel pressure to do this. You just do it and have a blast.”

It sounds like he worked really hard, and it totally paid off. It’s really a fun scene, and it’s cool that Fox was able to learn a new skill that he could come away from the film with. If you were going to learn any song on the guitar to play perfectly for a movie, which one would you choose?


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Michael J. Fox Talks About Learning to Play Guitar for the Famous BACK TO THE FUTURE 'Johnny B. Goode' Scene

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