Back to the Future Trilogy (1985-1990)

Okay so this isn't a review because honestly this is one of the most epic trilogies of all time and you all have seen these movies already and if you haven't....well then we can't be friends. Just kidding....but only a little.

I guess I'm making this because I just recently rewatched the trilogy and I felt compelled to do a little research for random trivia bits that hold no real value, my specialty. So for however long I feel like writing, this will be full of little tidbits you may or may not have heard of before all about Back to the Future (1985), Back to the Future II (1989), and Back to the Future III (1990). 

So I'm not too sure where to start, but let's try starting with the cast. 

Cast & Crew

- Robert Zemeckis, the director for all three films, was basically jobless in the early 80's but had written several scripts with close friend Bob Gale. One script in particular was about a teenager that time-travels back to the 1950's, but was rejected by every major film studio. Zemeckis was hired by Michael Douglas to direct Romancing the Stone in 1984, which garnered enough success that he was able to direct what would come to be one of the greatest trilogies in history (of course I'm biased but who isn't). Also, since the early 80's he has cultivated strong friendships with composer Alan Silvestri and director/producer Steven Spielberg.

- I could name all the famous work Steven Spielberg has done but I've got other things to do. Same goes for Alan Silvestri, just click the links.

- Robert Zemeckis also directed great movies like Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Forrest Gump (1994), Contact (1997), and Cast Away (2000), among others.

- Michael J. Fox, was the first choice to play Marty McFly but was unable to due to his commitment on the popular NBC sitcom Family Ties (1982-1989). The next two choices were C. Thomas Howell and Eric Stoltz. They eventually cast Stoltz based on his great performance in Mask (1985). In my opinion Eric Stoltz is a fairly underrated actor but I'll save that for another time.

- Unfortunately, Zemeckis had to change a few things since there were several differences between Stoltz and Fox, mainly that Stoltz was 8 inches taller than the 5'4 Fox. This meant that the original choice for the role of Biff, J.J. Cohen, was deemed to small to be a convincing bully to the 6'0 Stoltz. Thomas F. Wilson was then cast as Biff and Cohen was cast as 'Skinhead' a member of Biff's gang.

- Another member of Biff's gang was 'Match' played by Billy Zane. Zane also played Caledon Hockley (or the douché, pretentious dick) in Titanic (1997) or if anyone remembers, he also played the eponymous spandex clad superhero in The Phantom (1996). Also to any SSX Tricky fans, he voiced the character Brodi.

- They shot 5 weeks worth of footage with Stoltz when Zemeckis actually decided that it was not working out quite as planned. Stoltz concurred and so he parted amicably with the film but here are a couple of scenes with Stoltz as Marty McFly. At this point Michael J. Fox was allowed to film Back to the Future and the franchise took off from there.

- Fox shot Family Ties in the daytime and shot Back to the Future at night. He said that it was a brutal experience and that most of the time he was "completely like a zombie" but it all turned out in end. In fact he had shot another movie shortly before BTTF which also came out in 1985 called Teen Wolf. I know it's not a great movie but I do enjoy it, although it has been a long time since I've seen it.

- Lea Thompson, who played Marty's mother Lorraine Baines (McFly), had been cast since she had worked opposite Stoltz in 1984's The Wild Life. Her casting story is rather boring eh? Oh well.

- Contrary to what some people may think Christopher Lloyd was not the first choice for Doc Brown. John Lithgow had been the first choice but was unavailable for the part. I only looked for like two minutes but I couldn't find why Lithgow wasn't able to do it. If any of you want to look that up go ahead, tell me if you do find it. Lloyd had rejected the part at first but was later convinced to take the part by his wife.

- Lloyd took inspiration for Doc Brown from Albert Einstein (mainly the hair I'm sure) and conductor Leopold Stokowski. He also provided us with the epic line "1.21 Gigawatts!" pronounced with the soft 'g' making us question how we pronounce the word. Both pronunciations (with the hard 'g' like in 'grass' or the soft 'g' like in 'giant') are accepted, although the former is the most common today.

- Doc Brown's full name is "Emmett Lathrop Brown", and there are some rumors that speculate that 'Emmett Lathrop' is a derivation from the words "time" and "portal" spelled backwards. It's a bit of a stretch but nonetheless a possibility. Whether or not this is actually why this name was put forth isn't really important.

- Crispin Glover plays George McFly in this great trilogy but although George is a main character in the first film he only appears for a few scenes in Back to the Future II and Back to the Future III. Not only that but what a lot of people may not know is that Crispin Glover doesn't play George in the two sequels. In BTTF 2 & 3 George McFly is played by Jeffrey Weissman using some major facial prosthetics and a lot of make up. Unfortunately Glover wasn't able to come to an agreement regarding his contract. He was offered $125,000, considerably less than some of his other co-stars; the directors' believed that his career as an actor at the time did not warrant his high demands. So Glover left the trilogy after only the first film.

- Claudia Wells played Jennifer Parker in the original film but she had to tend to her mother's poor health and so was unable to reprise her role in the next two movies. Elisabeth Shue replaced Wells as Jennifer Parker, and as much as I like Elisabeth Shue (maybe best known for breakout role in The Karate Kid (1984) and her Oscar nominated performance in Leaving Las Vegas (1995)). Wells was finally able to reprise her role in the 2011 video game appropriately named, Back to the Future: The Game, which I heard was alright but probably not worth your time.

That's basically all I feel like writing on the cast & crew for now. I'm sure you could find out a lot more but I doubt you'd care enough to do so.

Other Things You Probably Didn't Know

- Industrial Light & Magic, the visual effects studio started by the great George Lucas himself, handled all the special effects shots for the trilogy. I could list all the fantastic work done by ILM, obviously known for the stunning visuals in the Star Wars trilogy....and I guess Episodes 1-3 as well, but I don't have the time or the motivation so just check the link.

- ILM boasts many famous past-employees including John and Thomas Knoll, founders of Adobe Photoshop, and none other than Tori Belleci, Grant Imahara, and Adam Savage from Mythbusters.

One last thing I forgot to add. I'm sure many people who will read this will have seen this link on my Facebook page but in any case....Here is the creepiest kid ever, and he appears at the very end of the series.

There are definitely other things I could tell you, but I'm a little tired and I've got other things to do.

Later days.


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