Eric Stoltz shot 3-5 weeks of footage for Back to the Future before Michael J. Fox replaced him. So, if Eric Stoltz's Marty McFly met Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly would there be a time paradox that might destroy the universe?
Update: After a recent viewing, Billy Zane is in BTTF I and II.
I'm not sure why Eric Stoltz's face looks like it's melting. Though if you witnessed time-travel, your face might start melting too. It happened with the Ark of the Covenant you know.
Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly-42 Photos from BTTF.COM
Michael J. Fox was the second Marty McFly in Back to the Future; the first time-traveling teenager with an Oedipus complex was Eric Stoltz. Michael J. Fox originally had scheduling conflicts with Family Ties. Co-star Meredith Baxter Birney (The Mom) was pregnant and producer Gary David Goldberg wanted Michael J. Fox to carry the show.
Casting for BTTF came down to Eric Stoltz and C. Thomas Howell. Supervising executive, Sid Sheinberg pushed for Eric Stoltz to land the role, because he liked him in the movie Mask. If you can't recall, Mask was the story of teenager Rocky Dennis whose craniodiaphyseal dysplasia caused extreme cranial enlargement and led to his death at 16, which is exactly the same tone, style and plot of BTTF!
The movie filmed for 3-5 weeks with Eric Stoltz as the star. According to screenwriter Bob Gale, "There was about 40 minutes worth of cut footage." Unfortunately, Eric Stoltz was simply miscast. "And he is intense, and he’s more of the method school of acting, and he’s a very internal actor, as opposed to a guy who has a lot of physicality to him." said, Bob Gale.
In an interview with BoxOfficeMojo Bob Gale explains, "Gale: Bob [Zemeckis] was cutting the movie as he shot it, and he said to [producer] Neil Canton and me, after he screened forty minutes of cut footage [with Stoltz as Marty]: "I think we've got a problem—I want you guys to look at it and tell me what you think." So we looked at it and said, yeah. Then he screened it for [producers] Frank Marshall and Kathy Kennedy and later Steven Spielberg and everybody agreed it just wasn't working. We had wanted Michael J. Fox to begin with but [Fox was committed to playing Alex P. Keaton on NBC's Family Ties]
BOM: Who made the call to Eric Stoltz?
Gale: Bob Z. He just sat Eric down in the trailer and gave him the bad news."
Which probably isn't the worst news you could hear in a trailer, but still. What's the worst you've heard?
Ms. Baxter Birney (The Mom) was back to work at Family Ties, and the more animated Michael J. Fox was brought in to replace Eric Stoltz. The Robert Zemeckis production went back in time and the 22-year old shot around Family Ties' schedule. The bold move paid off for all involved and Stoltz has no regrets (publicly). Though I bet he's a bit wary of trailers.
The major visual differences between the two Marty McFlys involve wardrobe. Stoltz's McFly tried to get by wearing two layers (T-Shirt & Jacket), which was obviously not enough, because Michael J. Fox's McFly stacks on four layers (T-Shirt, Long Sleeve Shirt, Jeans Jacket, Vest). The more layers you wear, the warmer your performance. Also, Michael J. Fox looks infinitely more confused than Eric Stoltz. Perhaps some day we'll get to see and hear Eric Stoltz's 40 min. serious interpretation of Back to the Future.
- "I think it was like three or four weeks. I would be curious to see it."
Eric Stoltz on being Marty McFly
- "There was a certain type of people they were bringing in and Eric Stoltz came in and the scenes were playing better when he was playing it, but it wasn't quite as light or comic. But he was a better actor than the other people that were coming in."
Crispin Glover Was Replaced by Prosthetics and an Impressionist for BTTF II, III
Flickr Photos from Janey Moffat
- Michael J. Fox Candid in the dirty McFly kitchen
- Call Sheet 1: 2 Horses, 2 Cows, 12 Moviewise Chickens (No amateur chickens please.)
- Call Sheet 2: Continue Stunt Skateboard Chase (Due to Extreme Fire Hazard, Please Be Careful Smoking.)