When the name Eric Stoltz popped up on Google Trends one day in October 2010, I became curious why he was a popular search term. I was just thinking about him, because earlier that day I had watched an episode of the long running series Law and Order and the credits revealed it was directed by Eric Stoltz. It made me wonder, what’s Eric Stoltz working on now?
I hadn’t heard anything about Eric Stoltz in a while, and he lives a very private life, so when Stoltz’s name appeared in Google Trends, I wondered why people were searching for him. Why were so many people searching the name “Eric Stoltz” that day?
Eric Stoltz: The Original Marty McFly in Back to the Future
Eric Stoltz was a hot Google search term because of his association with the film Back to the Future. If you’re a Back to the Future fan, you might not know that actor Michael J. Fox, who played the lead in the film, was not the first choice to play the Marty McFly character. Eric Stoltz was cast as the original Marty McFly, but he was let go a few weeks into filming Back to the Future.
Why was Eric Stoltz, the original Marty McFly in Back to the Future, replaced by Michael J. Fox? Robert Zemeckis (director of Back to the Future) wanted to go in a different direction with the character, injecting more humor into the role, so they recast the role with actor Michael J. Fox (Fox was an excellent choice, and he’s also one of my favorite actors from the 80s).
As much as I adored Michael J. Fox, I’m a huge Eric Stoltz fan, and it’s fun to imagine what Back to the Future would have been like had Stoltz remained the original Marty McFly. Would Eric Stoltz have shot to superstardom like Michael J. Fox if his original Marty McFly had been part of Back to the Future?
We’ll never know, but Stoltz was a popular search term on Google because early footage of his original Marty McFly performance has been released as part of the 25th anniversary edition of Back to the Future. In my opinion, the independent and eclectic actor Eric Stoltz did just fine for himself career wise, without being a part of the megahit franchise Back to the Future.
Eric Stoltz: He’s Some Kind of Wonderful
Eric Stoltz came to my attention in a film with a title that summed up my feelings about him: Some Kind of Wonderful. When Stoltz debuted in the 80s teen angst film Some Kind of Wonderful, directed by John Hughes and also starring Mary Stuart Masterson and Lea Thompson, he really captured my interest. He had sensitivity and depth, as well as striking blue eyes and ginger colored hair, and I couldn’t think of another actor quite like him. Eric Stoltz was a true original, not Hollywood cookie cutter, and he put his stamp on a number of roles where he played the sensitive outsider.
I started to follow Stoltz’s career and made it a point to see his work, whether it was stage, film or television. Stoltz’s acting talent graced a number of independent films, including one of my all time indie favorites Mr. Jealousy, directed by Noah Baumbach. Notable Eric Stoltz performances of the 80s and 90s include Mask, Killing Zoe, Kicking and Screaming and The Waterdance. I had the privilege of seeing Stoltz, Penelope Ann Miller and the late great Spalding Gray starring onstage in Our Town in New York City, and they all created magic with their unforgettable performances.
Eric Stoltz: Where is He Now?
In the past few years, Eric Stoltz has been doing a lot of directing as well as acting. Stoltz directed a short film and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for directing the cable movie My Horrible Year! He has also directed episodes of Law and Order, Boston Legal, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Glee.
I was delighted to learn that Eric Stoltz has been starring as Daniel Graystone in the futuristic drama Caprica every Tuesday night on SyFy Channel. If you’re a Stoltz fan, I urge you to catch his complex and dark performance as Graystone in Caprica. It’s great to see Eric Stoltz doing science fiction, and it proves that he is an independent, open-minded actor who loves to grow and take on a variety of challenging roles.
Whether he’s center stage as an actor, or behind the lens as a director, I can’t wait to see what Eric Stoltz does next!