Michael J. Fox has made many of his roles outright iconic, which makes it all the more surprising to hear that he came close to missing his first major role in “Family Matters.” According to producer Gary David Goldberg (via The Interviews), he initially didn’t like Fox due to a flubbed audition in which the actor had made the character of Alex P. Keaton too dark. As such, Goldberg pushed for Matthew Broderick to get the role instead.
When Broderick ultimately declined, a persistent casting director convinced Goldberg to begrudgingly allow Fox a second audition round, and fortunately, the young actor nailed it. This must’ve been a pretty important moment for him, because in an interview with the New York Post (via Entertainment), Fox revealed that Broderick used to be something of an accidental professional nemesis to him. “He’d usually go in first for auditions, and you’d hear hands shaking,” Fox remembered. “I was always losing jobs to Matthew Broderick.”
Perhaps ironically, Fox’s commitment to “Family Ties” ended up nearly costing him the even more iconic part of Marty McFly in “Back to the Future,” according to People. Goldberg guarded Fox so jealously that although the makers of the movie really wanted the actor to play Marty, they ultimately cast Eric Stoltz in the role … before realizing he was a bad fit, and promptly returning to unleash a charm arsenal on Goldberg until he agreed to allow Fox to portray Marty.