Video: Eric Stoltz was the original Marty McFly in Back to the Future

Senior Editor
10.12.10 20 Comments

Here’s something you probably didn’t know unless you’re a huge nerd (my term for people that know something I didn’t):  Marty McFly in Back to the Future was originally played by Eric Stoltz.  Stoltz is a fine actor in his own right (I’ll always remember his manic drug dealer, Lance, in Pulp Fiction) but Zemeckis didn’t think he was right for McFly and had him replaced with Michael J. Fox– five weeks into production.

Details of the shocking Hollywood switch and never-before-seen footage of Stoltz as McFly are part of the extras package for the “Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy” to be released on Blu-Ray on Oct. 26. [and which will receive a limited engagement theatrical run courtesy of AMC]
Zemeckis says the casting change was “this horrific decision; it was heartbreaking for everybody.”
Executive producer Steven Spielberg said that Zemeckis consulted him before pursuing the casting change.

“(Zemeckis) showed me the first five weeks of shooting that he had put together,” Spielberg said. ” And he said, ‘I just don’t think we’re getting the laughs I was hoping we would get.’ ”

Spielberg said he realized his director “was absolutely correct.” [THR]

To understand just how ballsy this is, imagine telling your boss you screwed up and wasted five weeks of work.  It’s impressive for everyone involved that they cared that much.  And it makes it all the more insane that someone watched Paul Walker in the dailies for The Fast and the Furious and thought, “Eh, f*ck it.  This movie’s about cars, right?”

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