Every Back to the Future fan worth his or her weight in…uh, Back to the Future knowledge knows that Michael J. Fox was not the first actor cast in the role of teenage rascal Marty McFly. Due to a scheduling conflict—Fox was in Family Ties at the time—actor Eric Stoltz was hired instead, and it took five whole weeks of shooting to realize what a mistake that was.
After some schedule finagling, Michael J. Fox was hired for real (he filmed Family Ties during the day and Back to the Future at night) and the entire Eric Stoltz fiasco was nothing but a bad dream and a story spread by word of mouth to fans of the time-traveling film series. For years, that’s all it was: a story. Until now, there was no video evidence to speak of, at least not for public consumption.
However, now footage of and commentary about Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly are just some of the extras for the Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy, which is being released later this month.
The Hollywood Reporter has an early look at the footage. Check it out:
In the clip, director and co-writer Robert Zemeckis says:
“[Eric Stoltz] is a magnificent actor, but his comedy sensibilities were very different from what I’d written with [co-writer] Bob [Gale]. So I had to make this horrific [casting replacement] decision which was very heartbreaking for everybody. But luckily, I was able to convince the studio to let me reshoot the five weeks of work [with Michael J. Fox].”
The few clips shown of Eric Stoltz as the Nike-loving, guitar-playing, skateboarding Marty McFly are silent save for music, so it’s hard to judge just how good or bad he would’ve been in the role. Nevertheless, it is incredibly strange just seeing Stoltz onscreen instead of Fox, in what appears to be shot-for-shot the same movie we know and love – it’s like watching a Bizarro version of Back to the Future. Maybe the television show Fringe can somehow incorporate the recovered footage into their alternaverse.
Fans probably already know this, but Eric Stoltz wasn’t the only thing jettisoned from Back to the Future. Originally, Doc Brown’s time machine wasn’t going to be the most awesome and useless car ever, also known as the DeLorean. Rather, it was going to be a device attached to a refrigerator that the user had to climb into before being exploded by a nuclear blast. This logically sound idea was scrapped over fears that children everywhere would start climbing into refrigerators, but like Stoltz as Marty McFly, it eventually saw the light of day (more or less) in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Hence the phrase “nuked the fridge.”
Michael J. Fox is Marty McFly Again
In other Back to the Future news, to promote the Scream Awards later this month, SpikeTV has recreated the original Back to the Future teaser trailer with the help of an aging Michael J. Fox. Check out the original teaser and the SpikeTV version below for comparison:
Michael J. Fox has still got it!
And last, but not least, keep an eye out for news about the Back to the Future episodic videogame being developed by Tell Tale Games (Sam and Max, Tales of Monkey Island) and co-written by the original film’s writer, Bob Gale. Christopher Lloyd is even returning to provide the voice for the brilliant but neurotic Doc Brown—as if anyone else could ever be capable.
The Scream Awards are premiering on SpikeTV October 19th 8/9C, where the cast of Back to the Future will reunite for the first time onscreen since 1990. The original Back to the Future film returns to theaters in over forty cities on October 23rd and 25th. The Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy is being released on October 26th. It’s a great time to be a Back to the Future fan.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter