Michael J. Fox Says a 'Back to the Future' Scene Is Why John Mayer Plays Guitar
By Paige Gawley
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Fans may have Back to the Future to thank for John Mayer's musicality. In an interview with AARP The Magazine, Michael J. Fox, the star of the 1985 flick, discusses his hopes for his legacy, and the surprising way 44-year-old Mayer plays a part in it.
"I hope my children are a positive influence in the world," he says of his legacy, referencing his four kids, Sam, 32, Aquinnah, 26, Schuyler, 26, and Esmé, 20, with wife Tracy Pollen. "I hope people will enjoy my work as an actor and get something from it."
"At a deeper level, I hope people see sincerity in the things I’ve said and done. If I’ve positively helped anybody with Parkinson’s, that’s great, too," continues Fox, who started The Michael J. Fox Foundation after being diagnosed with the disease himself. "I appreciate the purpose and the opportunity to help the foundation, to be part of something that’s potentially so powerful and life changing and world changing -- that’s huge."
Beyond those very important pieces of his legacy, Fox tells the magazine that he has a "kind of vanity thing" that he hopes for too.
"A lot of really great guitarists have come up to me over the years and said they picked up the guitar because of the 'Johnny B. Goode' scene in Back to the Future," Fox says. "If I did anything in this life, I got John Mayer to pick up the guitar!"
In the scene in question, Fox's character, Marty McFly, performs an epic rendition of Chuck Berry's 1958 song, that is full of impressive guitar riffs and tricks.
Getting now-famous guitar players to pick up the instrument isn't the only reason Back to the Future holds a special place in Fox's heart. In fact, he credits the flick as one thing that has helped him get his "groove back" following his Parkinson's diagnosis.
"It’s amazing -- more people, of all ages, approach me now about that movie than ever before. I’m not sure I understood why," he says. "Then I came across it on TV last Christmas. And I thought I was really good in it, better than I thought I’d been."
"More important, I got the spirit of the movie," Fox continues. "I understood it was just a big giggle and that we all need -- and I mean the readership of this magazine, too -- to take credit for what we’ve done and the lives we’ve touched and to occasionally step back a bit and appreciate that much of life has been great and that there’s a lot more to live."
When ET's Rachel Smith spoke to the actor in October, he opened up about living with Parkinson's following his diagnosis 30 years ago.
"I think it's part of my life, it's what and it's who I am and it's a struggle sometimes. I'm not gonna lie, it's really hard to get up and get ready and get out in the world [some days]. There are days that suck," he said. "[But there's] just an understanding that I will get through it. At any moment, you have a choice: I cannot get through this moment or I can get through this moment."