Michael J. Fox came to NBC's TCA press day to talk about his new Fall sitcom, The Michael J. Fox Show, and since the show is loosely based on his life, Fox fielded lots of questions about how much his Parkinson's disease struggle will play into the show. Fox was open about his experience and shared how he was inspired by it — as well as how much the show really mirrors his life. Read on for that, costar Betsy Brandt's hilarious comments, and to find out who Anne Heche will play on the series.
- On how much Parkinson's will be portrayed, Fox said that "certainly in the pilot, it's more prevalent than in subsequent scripts," and that this is a reflection of his experience. The comedy that's gleaned from the affliction is inherent, though: "The reality of Parkinson's," he said, is that "sometimes it's frustrating and sometimes it's funny." As for the creativity process, Fox said, "I sat down and said, 'Here's the kind of stuff I deal with on a daily basis.'"
- Betsy Brandt, who plays Fox's wife, talked about going from Breaking Bad (in which she played Marie) to this. In an indication that you can take the girl out of Breaking Bad but you can't take the Breaking Bad out of the girl, she said that she was so excited to audition with Fox that she "would have shanked all the actors" to get the role. When the audience laughed, she joked, "I would have! I did not." Brandt was effusive about her new role, saying it's "pretty effing awesome. It's good to be Betsy Brandt right now." She said she'd been hoping to work on a comedy next, but "this is beyond what I could have come up with in my mind. I didn't want to chase the next Breaking Bad because there may never be one."
- Since the show is loosely based on Fox's life, he talked about the parallels, starting with his children and whether the onscreen kids are based on them. "Names have been changed to protect the innocent," he cracked, adding that they'll recognize some things. "There's a germ of some things that I've taken and run with," but "they're cool with it." As for other real-life parallels, Fox's wife Tracy Pollan has a guest-starring arc, and the set of the family's apartment is based on Fox's family's own apartment.
- We learned a little about the recently cast Anne Heche, who doesn't appear in the pilot. She's playing "a nemesis," and executive producer Sam Laybourne added, "Let's just say there's a disputed incident that happened 20 years ago in the Everglades. She may or may not have used Mike to further her career."