Behind the scenes of the Back to the Future Trilogy

Many fans know that although Michael J. Fox was the desired cast for the role of Marty McFly, he could not take over the role at first because it collided with his commitment in the series Family ties. The reason for this was that the producer didn't want to release the actor because his acting colleague Meredith Baxter was on maternity leave at the time and it was feared that without Fox the success of the series could collapse.

Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd with Lea Thompson.

Eric Stoltz as Marty McFlyEric Stoltz took over the role for the time being. After four weeks of shooting it turned out that Stoltz was unsuitable - he lacked the comedic lightness, and he approached his character with too much seriousness. Finally Michael J. Fox took over the role. This meant additional costs of about three million dollars for the re-recordings of the scenes - and a maximum of five hours of sleep for the actor, who fulfilled his obligations for family ties during the day and then worked on Back to the Future.

"I wonder if Dad would have been my friend."

The idea for the film was born in 1980, when producer and screenwriter Bob Gale visited his parents and found an old yearbook of his father. Gale wondered if he would have been friends with his father if they had gone to high school together. Together with Rober Zemeckis he worked on the idea and introduced these different film studios. In the end, the film ended up with Universal - in exchange for a woman without a conscience, by the way, which was then implemented by Columbia.

Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale and Neil Canton with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.Originally, the famous DeLorean was not intended as a time machine. Rather, a refrigerator was to serve as a time machine. However, this idea was dropped for safety reasons, fearing that children could imitate it and climb into a refrigerator, where there would have been a risk of the children suffocating. The choice fell on the DeLorean; the car looked futuristic enough that the farmer's family, with whom Marty landed in 1955, could easily mistake it for a flying saucer. The legendary vehicle was designed by Giorgio Giugiaro, a well-known designer among automobile fans. Giugiaro also designed the VW Scirocco and the BMW M1. However, the DeLorean was less successful as a car - it was built in just under two years. Today there are still about 4,000 copies.

Lloyd's wife is to blame

Doc Brown was supposed to be played by John Lithgow, who was however prevented. So the role was offered to Christopher Lloyd, who should reject first. It was the reading of the script and the persuasiveness of Lloyd's wife that finally led to Lloyd taking on the role.

Filming on the area of Universal Studios.Where's Hill Valley High School?

Since no city was to be expected to move them completely back to 1955, the recordings around the town hall were shot by the fictitious city of Hill Valley in the Universal Studios. But if you want to see Hill Valley High School, you can do it in Whittier, California. The Whittier High School was used for both indoor and outdoor filming. A well-known graduate of this high school is John Lasseter, today's creative head of Pixar Animation Studios.

Go Johnny go!

The famous "Blues, Rhythmus B" alias "Johnny B. Good" was supposed to be omitted from the original version of the movie, as it doesn't really advance the plot. However, the reactions of the test audience meant that the scene was preserved in its final version. Thus also the translation error "Rhythm B" remained contained. In the original Marty says that it is a "blues riff in B" - and refers here to the key.

"Ronald Reagan? The actor?!"

Former US President Ronald Reagan was so enthusiastic about the scene in which Doc Brown expressed his disbelief about how an actor can become president that he stopped and rewound the film at that scene to watch it again immediately.

Claudia Wells spielte Jennifer in Teil 1, Elisabeth Shue schlüpfte bei den Fortsetzungen in ihre Rolle.Give it away, give it away now

Fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers will certainly have recognized the bassist Michael Balzary - better known under the name "Flea". Balzary played the role of Douglas J. Needles, who calls the older Marty in 2015 and wants to incite him to illegal machinations. He was on tour with the band at that time and interrupted them for a day to complete the shooting. In principle, the film shows a completely overtired Balzay who had only slept for two hours.

The new Jennifer

In the sequel, Claudia Wells could no longer take over the role of Marty's friend Jennifer Parker. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer and Wells was no longer available for filming. She was replaced by Elisabeth Shue.

Crispin Glover wurde in den Fortsetzungen von Jeffrey Weissman ersetzt."You're not George McFly!"

It is known that Crispin Glover did not return to his role in the second part because he did not agree with the studio about his fee. There are no exact figures for Glover's demands, but they speak of a sum between 50,000 and 125,000 dollars. Although the role of George McFly was then cast with Jeffrey Weissmann, during the shooting they took care to alienate him and keep him in the background. These recordings were mixed with existing exceptions from part 1. Glover subsequently filed a lawsuit against this with the justification that the studio did not have his permission to imitate his appearance. In the end, he received $765,000 out of court. The studio considered this to be a more financially advantageous solution, as a court case would have resulted in higher costs. As a consequence, the Screen Actors Guild now has clauses to this effect.

Skateboarding is not like cycling

There were four years between the shooting of part 1 and part 2. For a long time there was a rumour that Michael J. Fox had forgotten skateboarding and had to learn it again for the scenes with the hoverboard. However, Fox himself assumes that the first early symptoms of his Parkinson's disease were already apparent during the shooting.

Marty und Doc im Hill Valley von 2015.Jaws 19 vs. Godzilla

Marty McFly takes cover from the white shark in 2015; after all, part 19 is already running. The director is Max Spielberg, the son of Steven Spielberg. In the first draft of the script, the cinema should have advertised Godzilla. If the draft had been kept, one would have been only one year away from the film.

When Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale wrote the script for Back to the Future Part 2, they encountered a problem: they had too much material for a two-hour film. Feeling that their story was suffering from too many cuts, they called Universal Pictures' top management. "The bad news," they said, "is that we can't bring Back to the Future Part 2 into the cinemas in the summer of 1989. The good news is that we will be bringing Part 2 to Christmas 1989 and Part 3 to Summer 1990."

"I think," Bob Gale remembers, "when we called Universal, they thought we were kidding." No, it wasn't a joke at all...

"The opportunity to finish the saga of Marty and Doc in Part 3 was one of the reasons why I was enthusiastic about the sequel," says Bob Zemeckis. "If you combine all three films, they work like a complete trilogy. We knew we were taking a risk by leaving some questions unanswered at the end of Part 2, but all that is now fully clarified in Part 3. This is one of the reasons why we had planned to release Part 3 six months after Part 2. We didn't think it was fair to let the audience wait a whole year."

In order to realize their ambitious plan, the filmmakers took on the unique challenge of shooting two films directly after each other. After five exhausting months in production for Back to the Future Part 2, the actors and crew packed their bags and started working on Part 3.

In Teil 3 hat es Doc und Marty in den Wilden Westen verschlagen.Back to the beginning

Admittedly a fan of the western genre, Bob Zemeckis insists that the reason for setting Back to the Future Part 3 in 1885 was not simply his excuse to "bring back the western." "In fact," says the director, "Back to the Future 3 isn't a western. It's a film about time travel. We're taking a 1980's kid whose sole knowledge of the west is based on what he's seen on television in Clint Eastwood movies, and actually sticking him in the 1880s, which brings an entirely new dimension to the genre. Given what we've done in the first two films, this was the only logical place the trilogy could go."

"In addition to Marty and Doc, one of the main characters in the Back to the Future saga is the town of Hill Valley. We've seen it in all it's different permutations, including the future, so it only seemed logical to Bob Gale and me to trace the characters and their hometown back to their roots."

"We chose 1885 because if you go back much further in California history, say, to the 1700's, there would only be some Indians and maybe a few Spanish guys running around. Not much to work with. The time period we chose is a piece of America's mythology," adds Bob Gale. "It was an era of discovery, and of the growth of a people in search of a dream."

Michael J. Fox agrees that the time period blends perfectly into the scheme of the Back to the Future story. "These characters lend themselves well to that motif. The ideals that made the western an endearing genre have always been at the heart of the Back to the Future stories, encompassing the fast paced action, the romance and the danger. Inasmuch as Back to the Future appeals to the kid in everyone, I think that the idea of being a cowboy invokes that same spirit. Hopefully, we've been able to combine the ingredients of what people have always loved about westerns, and what they've come to love about the Back to the Future movies."



box office results

Back to the Future
$381.100.000
Back to the Future - Part 2
$332.000.000
Back to the Future - Part 3
$244.500.000

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