SHELDON LEE COMPTON: You’ve been hired on to write the screenplay for Back to the Future IV. The studio has asked for a one paragraph summary for its afternoon pitch meeting. Go!
NICHOLAS GRIDER: Back to theFuture IV is a hilarious thrillride of hijinks and near-death experiences as Michael J. Fox enlists Christopher Lloyd to go back in time and, while retaining their profits, otherwise preventing Back to the Future II and Back to the Future III from ever being made––will they succeed? Will they tear a hole in the fabric of the cosmos? Will you laugh until you feel like your eyeballs will pop out? All that and more! Taylor Swift and Stephen Hawking costar.
COMPTON: If you could extend the life of one person from the past by a single year, who would it be and why?
GRIDER: Hopelessly sentimental and 100% sincere: my mom, completely healthy, so I could spend more time with her and she could get to see more of her granddaughter growing up. Then, because I’d pulled off the impossible by bringing her back from the dead, I’d tack on another twenty or so years so that she could see me become a Jew and become a doctor and get books published and see Rowan grow up and torment my sister and date and become the wonderful person she will be and graduate from whatever, Yale or Harvard.
COMPTON: Next year the government is going to require that every citizen get a tattoo in the middle of their forehead. Moving just ain’t an option, but you can choose your own. Show me an image of the tattoo you would choose.
GRIDER: I’d just get a small black dot. Simple, mystical, enigmatic, elegant: the face tat for every occasion.
COMPTON: Who would win in a fight between Emily Dickinson and Alice Munro? How do you figure?
GRIDER: Emily Dickinson would wipe the floor with Alice Munro, not because Munro isn’t a formidable fighter, quick on her feet, but because Dickinson spent so much time at home in her home gym getting ripped when she wasn’t writing poems, and because Dickinson will feint you like she’s favoring her right and going for the stomach a lot but then WHAM you didn’t see it coming but Dickinson is a southpaw with an absolutely lethal left hook. She will then sit on a KO’d Munro and jot down three or four more poems.
COMPTON: Ozzy Osbourne has finally forgotten everything he ever did. What song other than “Crazy Train” do you play for him as a reminder of his importance to the world of music?
GRIDER: The song would be “Paranoid” but rather than the original audio I’d sit Ozzy down and have him watch this performance of it, which features Phil Collins on drums and was part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, and I’d have him watch once or twice, inform him he was in a band actually called Black Sabbath, and inform him about Queen Elizabeth and Phil Collins (and of course Genesis) and congratulate him for having torn a hole in the fabric of the cosmos in a way and of a magnitude that Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd could never dream of.