Watch Billy Zane audition for Marty McFly-tormenting Biff Tannen in never-released 'Back to the Future' footage (exclusive)

Kevin Polowy
·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read

After 35 years and multiple home-video releases, some of the most legendary Back to the Future footage has finally been unearthed from the vaults — including an audition tape nearly as anticipated as that footage of Eric Stoltz playing Marty McFly from the 25th anniversary box set.

The 4K UHD Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy (available tomorrow) features a series of rare audition tapes from several actors were passed over for lead roles, including Ben Stiller, Jon Cryer and C. Thomas Howell (all trying out for Marty McFly), Kyra Sedgwick (Jennifer Parker) and Peter DeLuise (Biff Tannen).

Then there’s Billy Zane, who auditioned for the soon-to-be-iconic bully Biff — and whose audition reel you can watch exclusively above.

Given the wide-net nature of casting, most every actor in Hollywood has a litany of near-misses. But Zane, in this case, did win a nice consolation: he was cast instead as one of Biff’s minions, Match, and reprised the role in the 1989 sequel Back to the Future II.

In the clip above, Zane (who would become best known as Leonardo DiCaprio’s nemesis in Titanic) is performing proto-dialogue from what would become the diner scene, in which a horrified Marty (Michael J. Fox) looks on as Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) torments George McFly (Crispin Glover). While Zane is convincing as an oily tough, he’s not nearly as loutish as Wilson’s bruising Biff.

In a recent interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Back to the Future producer and co-writer Bob Gale expressed his gratitude for the actors who signed off on allowing their auditions to be made public, though noted a couple A-list performers like Johnny Depp and John Cusack (who both went out for Marty) declined.

“My thanks and kudos to all the actors that gave us permission to use those auditions on this,” says Gale. “There were a lot who didn't do that.”

Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy releases Oct. 20. Get it on Amazon.

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