25 years later, the world finally gets to see the original Marty McFly – Eric Stoltz. Stoltz, as you’ll all be aware, was fired 5 weeks into the shot because, quite simply, he wasn’t a fit. But why has it taken so long for the footage to emerge? Is it because Stoltz vetoed previous plans to release it? No, not at all, in fact Stoltz has been just as keen to see his footage as anyone.
“They certainly don’t ask the actors”, Stoltz says. “I would be curious to see it”.
Furthermore, the star of such hits as “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “Killing Zoe” is the first to admit that he wasn’t right for the role of Marty.
Stoltz, as Robert Zemeckis says in the below clip, has a different style of comedy than Michael J.Fox – more of a subtle, play-it-serious-for-laughs style. And it just wasn’t working for this particular movie. Stoltz took it like a trooper but you just know, underneath the smile he always gives when discussing the film that there’s a little bit of sadness underneath too (he jokes that the films could have made him “exceedingly rich, which would have been wonderful”) if even because the film would’ve teamed him with his good friends Lea Thompson (who he would end up making “Some Kind of Wonderful” with two years later) and Claudia Wells (whom he went to acting school with).
“You know, it was twenty-something years ago and I rarely look back, if at all, but in retrospect, I think just getting through that difficult period helped me realize how freeing it really was. I went back to acting school, I moved to Europe, I did some plays in New York and I actually invested in [pause] myself in a way that was much healthier for me”, says Stoltz, who took two years off from film after being let go from “Back to the Future”. “If I had become a massive star, I don’t know if I wouldn’t have gone into therapy.”
“I would’ve been unable to walk down the street! It’s a whole different life. I was lucky in that way.”
Stoltz says, looking back, it would’ve been a little odd having Thompson play his mother.
“That would’ve been something”, he laughs, “It’s a little weird anyway – the guy having his mother come onto him.”
Had Stoltz took on “Back to the Future”, maybe Michael J.Fox might have ended up doing the type of films his McFly predecessor ultimately took on – like, er, “Pulp Fiction”.
‘’We’ll, you never know, he’s a good actor”, Stoltz said of Fox.
I love Eric. He’s a great guy. You know those bushfires we had up my neck of the woods about a year ago? The ones that ultimately took many lives? Eric was the first person to check in with us on see if we were okay here. Now that’s one heck of a guy right there.
Without further ado, here’s the first look – tardy first look – at Eric Stoltz in “Back to the Future”. There will be more on the Blu-ray release, out at the end of the month.
Oh… and in one alternate universe Stoltz did get to headline “Back to the Future” – the “Fringe” universe:
Empire Strikes Back
St. Elmo's Fire
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
The Breakfast Club