TORONTO — It’s been 30 years since Back to the Future, starring Canada’s Michael J. Fox, opened in cinemas.
The 1985 film about a time traveling DeLorean, directed by Robert Zemeckis, was the summer’s biggest hit and spawned sequels in 1989 and 1990.
In honour of its anniversary, Caseen Gaines went behind-the-scenes for his book We Don’t Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy. Here are five fun facts Gaines shares in the book:
Michael J. Fox wasn’t the first Marty McFly
A number of actors were up for the role of Marty McFly — including Johnny Depp, C. Thomas Howell, John Cusack and Charlie Sheen — but it was Eric Stoltz who got the job. But when Stoltz failed to click in the first six weeks of filming, producers replaced him with Canadian actor Michael J. Fox, who was getting plenty of attention on Family Ties.
READ MORE: Here’s what Back to the Future II got right
Lea Thompson wasn’t a fan of Fox
Lea Thompson (Lorraine) initially didn’t like the idea of co-starring with a TV actor. “I was so snotty about it,” she told Gaines. She said it didn’t take long to be won over by Fox.
Back to the Future was almost not the title
Studio head Sid Sheinberg reportedly thought audiences would be confused by the title Back to the Future and instead wanted Spaceman From Pluto — a reference to a comic book that appears in the film. Zemeckis insisted on Back to the Future.
That wasn’t Michael J. Fox singing
Mark Campbell, who sang the rendition of “Johnny B. Goode” heard in the movie, didn’t receive a credit on screen because producers wanted audiences to think Fox was singing. Instead, he accepted a small but “very nice” percentage of soundtrack sales. The album spent 19 weeks on the Billboard 200.
Robert Zemeckis didn’t want a sequel
Director Robert Zemeckis didn’t like the idea of making a sequel, but with the movie’s massive success (it earned more than $380 million worldwide), the studio said one would be made with or without him. Zemeckis returned for Back to the Future II, which made $332 million and Back to the Future III, which grossed $245 million.