As most young actors progress through their career, one of the most difficult stages they face is the transition from their portrayal of teens to being accepted by audiences in adult roles. Lea Thompson made that transition in the course of a single film, as she played high school teenager Lorraine Baines and the 47-year-old housewife Lorraine McFly in "Back to the Future."
In "Back to the Future Part II," Thompson may well have made some additional acting transitions with her portrayals of new incarnations of Lorraine. In the altered 1985, Lorraine is still 47, but her appearance and lifestyle have changed dramatically as the wife of Biff Tannen. Should any filmmaker need to cast the part of a sprightly septagenarian, they need look no further than Thompson's performance as 77-year-old grandmother Lorraine.
"What makes 'Back to the Future' films so wonderful for me as an actress, and I think for audiences as well," says Thompson, "is that the filmmakers didn't try to cast someone who just looked like us in the older versions of our characters. It's essential to the story that the audience knows that it's the same actor playing the role, and hopefully they will accept us in our older characterizations."
"When I read the script to the first film, I thought the story was terrific. When they told me I would be playing both young and old Lorraine, I knew it would be a tremendous challenge. When they told me what they had in mind for part two, I couldn't wait to get started."
A native of Minneapolis, Thompson moved to New York at the age of 19 after a stint in professional ballet and modern dance to pursue a career as an actress. She was cast in a series of 22 commercials for Burger King, which led to a small role in the feature "Jaws 3-D." Her next role was that of Tom Cruise's girlfriend in "All the Right Moves," a role which brought her to the attention of both audiences and critics. This was followed by her work with director John Milius in "Red Dawn," in which she played a teenage guerilla fighter, helping to fend off a Russian invasion of the United States. Prior to her casting in "Back to the Future," Thompson starred in "The Wild Life."
Following her first experience as Lorraine Baines McFly, Thompson went on to star in features such as "Some Kind of Wonderful," "Howard the Duck," "Space Camp," "The Wizard of Loneliness" and "Casual Sex?"
The actress most recently starred in the Turner Network production of "NighBreaker," for which she received an Ace Award nomination, and in an episode of the HBO series, "Tales From the Crypt." She also completed the Turner Network presentation of "Montana," written by Larry McMurtry.
Steven Spielberg Presents A Robert Zemeckis Film. "Back to the Future Part II." Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson. Music by Alan Silvestri. Edited by Arthur Schmidt, Harry Keramidas. Production Design by Rick Carter. Director of Photography, Dean Cundey, A.S.C. Executive Producers, Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy. Story by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale. Screenplay by Bob Gale. Produced by Bob Gale and Neil Canton. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. A Universal Picture.
as of October 24, 1989