Back to the Future: Jon Cryer, Ben Stiller Relive the Indy 4 Fridge

The headline might sound confusing, but here's a trivia question. What do Back to the Future and Indiana Jones have in common? Would you believe a rejected idea that got used 23 years later? Most BTTF fans are aware of how Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty McFly in the classic 1985 film before director Robert Zemeckis, and screenwriter Bob Gale made a last-ditch effort to secure their original choice in Michael J. Fox. Fox couldn't initially commit due to his contractual obligation to his television sitcom Family Ties. The rest they say is history, or was it? Two well-known comedic actors in Jon Cryer and Ben Stiller also auditioned for the film. They recall reading for a very different film. Amblin Road shared the story of those changes alongside the two actors in advance of the film's 35th-anniversary box set.

Back to the Future: Jon Cryer, Ben Stiller Relive the Indy 4 Fridge
Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown and Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future (1985). Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). Images courtesy of Universal and Paramount

For starters, Cryer claimed the original opening scene in Back to the Future had Marty playing the theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) on his guitar and pirating a copy of the film on VHS. He also confirmed a fact known to only hardcore fans that the time machine wasn't always a DeLorean. The original time machine also needs another regent aside from the 1.21 gigawatts generated from either a bolt of lightning or plutonium, Coca-Cola. At one point, Marty scrambles around a nuclear bomb testing facility full of fake homes and mannequins. Upon hearing a countdown sequence, he makes a mad dash to look for shelter before finding a lead-lined refrigerator full of Coca-Cola. The resulting explosion made time travel possible. Yes, a rejected idea from Back to the Future made its way into Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) 23 years later. If it was possible to deadpan a Tweet, Stiller managed to do it referring to Fox. "Rest assured @realmikefox was never in jeopardy," he wrote. "I actually think I blocked out this memory." You can check out the Twitter thread here.

In addition to Cryer and Stiller's reels, the 4K Ultra HD set also includes other auditions from Billy Zane. Kyra Sedgewick, Peter DeLuise, and C. Thomas Howell. The 35th Anniversary box set comes to home release on October 20, 2020. Check the original "nuke the fridge" scene from Indy 4 for reference.

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.

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