It's hard to imagine anyone but Michael J. Fox playing Marty McFly in "Back to the Future"; he and the character are one, like Tony Stark and Iron Man. But believe it or not, Fox was not the first actor to portray the orange-vested, "Power of Love"-loving time traveler in the 1985 classic. That honor goes to another '80s idol, Eric Stoltz.
A bonus video clip -- located below for your viewing pleasure, courtesy of E! Online -- from the "Back to the Future" 25th Anniversary Trilogy collection (out October 26 on Blu-ray and DVD), offers a glimpse of Stoltz in the role. And it is quite the strange experience to see someone else as Doc Brown's DeLorean-driving pal, kind of like if Clint Eastwood had played Superman instead of Christopher Reeve. But I digress... In the same clip, director Robert Zemeckis and executive producer Steven Spielberg reveal that they shot a whopping five weeks of footage with Stoltz McFly-ing it up as Marty. So what happened? How did Fox end up with the part?
"He's a magnificent actor, but his comedy sensibilities were very different from what I had written with Bob [Gale]," Zemeckis says in the clip. "And he and I were just never able to make that work."
Zemeckis showed Spielberg the first five weeks of footage and told him they weren't "getting the laughs I was hoping we would get." Spielberg concurred, and so Zemeckis made what he terms a "horrific" and "heartbreaking" decision to recast the part with then-"Family Ties" star Michael J. Fox.
Don't feel too bad for Stoltz, though. He got his big-screen break that same year in "Mask," for which he nabbed a Golden Globe nomination... in the same category as Fox, who was nominated for "BTTF." And, in another fun twist, Stoltz shared the screen with Lorraine McFly herself, Lea Thompson, in the 1987 John Hughes romance "Some Kind of Wonderful." These days, Stoltz can be seen on the "Battlestar Galactica" prequel series "Caprica" and occasionally steps behind the camera to direct, as he did for last night's episode of "Glee."
Would "Back to the Future" have been the classi it is today if Stoltz had played Marty McFly? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!