Michael J. Fox on How ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ in Part Inspired Him to Retire

"I was looking in the mirror and thought, 'I cannot remember it anymore,'" Fox said, citing Leonardo DiCaprio's performance in Quentin Tarantino's period piece.
Michael J. Fox at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival
Michael J. Fox at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival

Michael J. Fox had to look back to the future to decide on his own retirement.

The “Back to the Future” icon explained to Empire magazine (via Screen Rant) that Quentin Tarantino’s 1960s set “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” inspired him to seriously consider stepping away from acting. Fox detailed that on “The Good Wife” spinoff “The Good Fight,” he had trouble remembering his lines due to his Parkinson’s disease.

“I thought of ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.’ There’s a scene where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character can’t remember his lines anymore. He goes back to his dressing room and he’s screaming at himself in the mirror. Just freaking insane,” Fox said. “I had this moment where I was looking in the mirror and thought, ‘I cannot remember it anymore. Well, let’s move on.’ It was peaceful.”

Fox is set to receive the Museum of Moving Image’s Lifetime Achievement Award in June 2023. Among his accolades, Fox has won five Emmys, four Golden Globes, one Grammy, two Screen Actors Guild awards, the People’s Choice award, and GQ Man of the Year honor. In 2000, he launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which is now the leading Parkinson’s organization in the world. To date, the foundation has raised over $1.5 billion.

The actor admitted in April 2023 that “every day gets tougher” with his illness. ““You don’t die from Parkinson’s, you die with Parkinson’s. So I’ve been thinking of the mortality of it,” Fox said. “I’m not going to be 80.”

Fox charts his own health journey in documentary “STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie,” which debuted at 2023 Sundance. Directed by “An Inconvenient Truth” helmer David Guggenheim, the film captures Fox’s career after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 30.

 “Every tremor is like a seismic jolt. But he never says, ‘look at how I’ve suffered,'” Guggenheim exclusively told IndieWire’s Anne Thompson about working with Fox. “He went through hell that year [during production]. More time in the emergency room than at home. And, and yet he never bitched or complained, you know? ‘Dude, you gotta at least, let me teach you how to talk about your pain. Because I’m really good at that.’ He just doesn’t want to be pitied. He says, ‘pity is a benign form of abuse.'”

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