‘Back to the Future’ Star Christopher Lloyd Opens Up About Fears He Had After Last-Minute Recasting

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)

Before Michael J.Fox joined Back to the Future, another actor was cruising through time with Doc. And Christopher Lloyd was scared that the casting change would ruin his flow.

During the first month and a half of filming, Pulp Fiction’s Eric Stolz was playing the world’s second time traveler, Marty Mcfly. And Stolz remained on set through principal photography. But at some point, he and director Robert Zemeckis started butting heads over the tone of the movie. And when Zemeckis decided he’d had enough, he gave the original McFly the boot.

Fortunately for him, Michael J. Fox’s schedule had lightened and he was able to step into the part. The change-up was particularly exciting for Zemichis because Fox was his first choice for the move anyway. But initially, his Family Ties producer David Goldberg didn’t think the series could share him.

However, while the whole situation worked out perfectly for Robert Zemeckis, Doc’s actor Christopher Lloyd was a little apprehensive. He’d already perfected his on-screen chemistry with Stolz and he wasn’t sure he’d find the same mojo with Fox.

“My biggest fear was that, because I was really working to get Doc right, I thought ‘I don’t know if can get it up to do that again.’ I was worried about it, but it all worked out,” Lloyd recently told GQ. ” Michael, we had a chemistry which lasted the whole time. We could come back after a break and just be there. You know, we didn’t have to work for it. So that was great.”

‘Back to the Future’ EP Steven Spielberg Announced the Swap in the Dead of the Night

As Christopher Lloyd said, he and Fox didn’t end up having a problem in the chemistry department. And we’d think everyone else would agree. The actors created one of the most famous duos in film history and were able to carry the movie into two sequels. The Back to the Future franchise even made it onto IMDb’s Top 25 Best Movies of All Times list.

So Lloyd wouldn’t disagree that the whole situation ended up working out for the better. However, he still thinks he could have had a little advance notice to the Mcfly swap.

As he continued, Lloyd shared that the announcement came in the dead of the night after the deed had already been done.

“There was another actor, and Michael came in after we shot for six weeks,” he said. “They just decided that they needed somebody with a comic flair, you know? And Stoltz is a wonderful actor. I had no idea that there was a change coming. One night we were shooting the mall beginning sequence. We were all asked to come to one of the trailers at 1:00 in the morning, and Spielberg was there and he made the announcement of the change.”