Sunday Converstation: Christopher Lloyd

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Christopher Lloyd got his film start in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and, 10 years later, enraptured youngsters as the zany time-traveling scientist in "Back to the Future." He was also Jim Ignatowski on "Taxi." You can catch him in the Sci Fi Channel's "Knights of Bloodsteel," which airs in two parts: tonight at 9 and continuing on Monday.

How do you prepare to play an elf wizard?

Initially when I heard the part was an elf, I was thinking of a diminutive little creature with pointy ears and fangs. And I'm not that! I'm 6 feet 1. But that doesn't really seem to be what it's about.

Are you a fan of the sci-fi and fantasy genres?

I am! If they're good ones -- kind of intriguing, thought-provoking. I love watching good sci-fi pyrotechnics, seeing displays. And the characters, they're always somewhat exaggerated, kind of glorified comic strips, you know, and it's going to have some kind of message topical to today's events.

What's on your TiVo list?

My TiVo list? What's that?

What do you watch on TV?

I watch "Frasier." I watch the news, news commentary a lot. I watch the Dodgers. And movies -- on demand. I watch movies.

Most important, you appeared in the greatest movie of all time, which, of course, is "Clue." What do you remember from that set?

I remember that it was an extraordinary ensemble. We had wonderful characters, each of us, to play. And every scene was an ensemble scene. It was a great group -- that was the most significant thing.

It's definitely in my Top 10.

Not that many people are that familiar with it. I think it enjoyed a greater audience in Great Britain than it did here.

And you've come into the future recently, doing an amazing video with Funny or Die, starring as a murderous Willy Wonka. How did that happen?

They called and asked if I would do it. And I felt, why not, you know? I was really delighted to participate.

You're on the cutting edge, doing Web videos with the kids!

Yeah. It's a whole area that I wasn't very much aware of. Of course, I'm watching it now and all the other videos they've created, and it's very exciting. It's a great outlet for talent, and young talent, to exercise their talents. Or old talent as well. Older talent.

According to your IMDB page, you're working like a dog right now.

Yeah. I have these lapses that make me nervous, between jobs. But I have to say that I keep things going. I love to work and I'm very happy that it keeps coming.

You don't have any interest in retiring?

None whatsoever.

Do you have hobbies as well?

Not really. I take cello lessons every once in a while. But I don't really get too caught up in anything. Once I have a job, I can't seem to focus on anything other than that.

How are things in Montecito? I know that last year you guys had that dreadful fire.

Yes, we did. The house I had, it got really scorched. But you move along, and make new plans. We're on the same lot. You keep going forward.

What were your early years in L.A. like?

Well, when I first came out, I was rolling along pretty good in the theater back East and doing well with that. When I came out here I got a couple of nibbles. Then it was an eight-month stretch when absolutely nothing came up. No appointments, no news, no meetings. And I thought I just got things really rolling in New York, and I came out here and nothing and lost momentum in New York ... I made a terrible move. But then a couple things came up and then "Taxi" happened. Since then, things have been going pretty well.

It's not that TV is terrible now -- but "Taxi" was so freewheeling and just plain odd.

I don't quite know what to account that from -- I guess predominantly a change in preference, I guess, among mostly younger people. Generations coming up have different feelings about what's pertinent to them. Where they find humor and drama. I guess! What do I know?

Me neither! I'd run a network if I knew anything. A friend wanted to know: Do you watch " Lost," and if so, can you can explain time travel?

"Lost"? L-o-s-t? No, I haven't. I'm not aware of it. What is it, a half-hour show?

It's an hour.

I haven't seen it. Is it a, what do you call it, live?

No, it's about -- oh, boy. Let's see. It's about a magical island that travels in time and the people that are lost on it?

Sounds intriguing! Sounds like my kind of thing. I guess I'll look for it. Do you watch it?

I do -- but I have to put it aside sometimes because there's only so much unexplained mystery I can take on a TV show.

There's only so many hours in the day.

That is so true.

And only so much room in your head to take it all in.

Oh, yes. What are you going to do the rest of the day?

I'm getting ready to work on a new film thing, and I'm looking over the script and seeing what it entails. There's some dance in it! I say that -- it's not, it's movement and dance on a limited basis. And I have to play the bongos in it. So I'm going out to a local drum store and checking out bongos and getting lessons and sort of focusing on that.

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