Image from Back the Future: The Ultimate Visual History by Michael Klastorin with Randal Atamaniuk published by HarperCollins Publishers, copyright 2015.
There’s no shortage of amazing Hollywood lore around "sliding doors" moments in which iconic roles were almost played by someone else, and a recently published casting list from Back to the Future just gave the world a whole new set to obsess over.
In Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History by Michael Klastorin and Randal Atamaniuk (out today), there’s a casting list from the Fenton-Feinberg Casting agency for the role of the “Scientist” a.k.a. Doctor Emmett Brown. It’s dated August 21, 1984, and includes 40-plus possibilities including Jeff Goldblum, John Cleese, John Candy, Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton, Gene Hackman, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Randy Quaid, Joe Piscopo, Bill Cosby, Mickey Rourke, Gene Wilder, and, of course, the man who would become Doc Brown, Christopher (“Chris”) Lloyd.
The list functioned as a wide net range of possibilities, and not every actor was seen for the role. In the end, Jeff Goldblum and John Lithgow seem to be the ones who got closest to clinching the role of the eccentric scientist, but it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Lloyd as the beloved Brown.
In the upper right hand corner of the list, there are also handwritten names of would-be Marty McFlys like Eric Stoltz, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio and “[John] Kusak” (sic). Stoltz famously landed the role before being replaced by Michael J. Fox mid-shoot.
[h/t Christopher Campbell]