Michael J. Fox recalls bonding with River Phoenix over feeling like a “dick”

Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox recalled a heartwarming meeting with River Phoenix where the two actors bonded over feeling like “dicks” while acting on the set of a TV show.

The Back To The Future star, 61, said that the pair got to know each other on the set of US Sitcom Family Ties back in the 1980s. Fox recalled giving some advice to Phoenix when he couldn’t nail a particular scene.

He told The Independent: “I was looking at this guy. I think Tracy [Pollan, my wife] was on the show that episode. And I said, ‘Look at this kid working. This kid is taking this 10 ways from Sunday and he is really coming at it’. I mean, kids don’t act like this. He really knew how to be an actor but he was struggling on this one scene.

Michael J Fox Family Ties Sitcom
Michale J. Fox on ‘Family Ties’. CREDIT: Alamy

“So I went up to him and I said, ‘What’s the problem?’ And he said, ‘I feel like a dick’,” the actor recalled.

Heading into a pep-talk, Fox told River he also felt “goofy” and “like a dick” when he acted. “It’s a stupid thing to do for a living. We pretend we’re other people for a living,” he told his co-star. “It’s all goofy, but if you stick with it, you can find a way to tell a story that other people can’t.”

The Marty McFly actor went onto reveal that one “act of kindness” sparked a friendship that lasted till Phoenix died from from combined drug intoxication in 1993. He recalled how the late actor would take him home for barbecues when Fox was filming Doc Hollywood in 1991. He thought the invite to dinners tied back to the pair’s first run-in, saying: “I guess that’s why he was always so nice to me when he became a huge star.”

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