Charles Donelan, the Indy’s longtime arts editor, answers a couple of questions about this week’s cover story interview with actor and author Michael J. Fox.
What’s your favorite role of Fox’s? MJF and I are very close in age, and so I really feel like I grew up with him, especially when we were both in our twenties and he was everywhere. As a young New Yorker, seeing him in Bright Lights, Big City was a big deal, because that was the novel that everyone read and talked about at that time. For this piece, I rewatched Back to the Future, and I was struck by how raw and intense it becomes, especially in the last 20 minutes of the film.
In reading the piece, I sensed your genuine admiration for the man. Is there some personal appreciation there? Both my maternal grandfather, James Hanley, and my father, Charles Donelan, were Parkinson’s patients and eventually succumbed to complications from the disease, so I have lived in the shadow of it ― in particular as it affected my mom, who lost first her dad, and then her husband to it ― for much of my life. Michael’s heroism in the face of living with something that I know from personal experience and observation is extraordinarily, existentially frustrating has always left me feeling awe and humility.