Back to the Future
05.08.2019 - By The Force Fed Sci-Fi Movie Podcast
This week, we travel back in time and talk about Back to the Future including topics like Eric Stoltz being cast as Marty McFly originally, some of our favorite Back to the Future quotes, the obstacles the film had to endure to get its feet going underneath, and much more!
Difficulties Getting Back to the Future off the ground...
While Back to the Future turned out to be a great film, some of you out there may not know that it was difficult to get this story and movie moving forward.
Studios did not want to pick this film up and it went through an insane amount of re-writes. Disney didn't want the film because of the Oedipal element, yet, as Chris points out in this show's podcast, they have no problem breaking the hearts of millions in some their movies (e'hem, Bambi). However, luckily Steven Spielberg and his production company Amblin Entertainment was convinced to take this film on along with Universal Studios.
Did you know the original time machine was going to be a refrigerator instead of a car requiring the power of a nuclear reaction? The screenplay went through soooo many different drafts. Around 44 drafts if you were looking for a number. There were definitely some positives that came out of changing a few things. Then president and COO of Universal Sidney Sheinberg put his hand two cents in for a few ideas to be changed.
For example, Sheinberg changed the name of Marty's mother's name from Meg to Lorraine, referring to Christopher Lloyd's character as 'Doc Brown' instead 'Professor,' and thankfully changing Doc's animal that he is so willing to do an experiment on from a chimpanzee to a dog.
The one not so good suggestion that was played down as if Sheinberg was joking (even though he was totally serious about it) was naming the movie "Spaceman from Pluto." Did you just furrow your eyebrows? I know we did when we learned that. We are actually still a little confused as to why this popped into his head. The name has nothing to do with time travel which is the main component of the film. All we can say is, thank goodness it didn't take!
Casting and Re-casting
The story of Back to the Future, Eric Stoltz, and Michael J. Fox
The casting of Marty McFly. Michael J. Fox was the original actor who was thought of as playing Marty McFly, but at the time he was locked in with his contract for the television show Family Ties. Therefore, Eric Stoltz was casted as the main character of the film. Simply said, he did not fit the role. They had shot several weeks with Stoltz. While he was a success in the film Mask, he was too dramatic for the role of Marty McFly.
Fortunately, it was agreed Michael J. Fox could play the role as Marty McFly, but he had to film Family Ties as well! Ever notice in the film a few times where Fox has huge bags under his eyes? He was filming day and night between the show and the movie. What a trooper if you ask us. Really, it would not have been the same film if Fox was unable to participate in Back to the Future.
Other Cast Members
Jennifer Parker. The role going from Stoltz to Fox caused the character of Jennifer to be re-cast as well, even though we only really see her in 2 or 3 scenes in the film. Melora Hardin was originally set to play this role, but was explained as being too tall next to Michael J. Fox. I suppose that makes sense as height of characters is something that is considered often when casting for films.