It All Started With a Hoverboard: How Back to the Future II Envisioned 2015
When John Bell was approached to work on the movie Back to the Future II in the mid-1980s, he only knew a couple of things about the story: It was set 30 years in the future, and he was supposed to design a hoverboard. Bell, who was the visual effects art director on the second and third Back to the Future films, was tasked with imagining what 2015 might look like, including its fashion, architecture, and technology. Just two days after “Back to the Future Day” (commemorating the date that characters Marty McFly, his girlfriend, Jennifer, and Doc Brown arrive in the future), Bell joins Ira to discuss how he went about picturing the future, and what inspired his designs for the film.
John Bell is an Academy-Award Nominated Visual Effects Art Director, with credits including Back to the Future II and III. He is based in San Mateo, California.
Becky Fogel is a newscast host and producer at Texas Standard, a daily news show broadcast by KUT in Austin, Texas. She was formerly Science Friday’s production assistant.