Roles in the trilogy
J.J. Cohen appeared in all three parts of the Back to the Future trilogy. As with several other actors in the trilogy, Cohen played more than one role. Unlike the other actors, however, he portrayed two unrelated characters. After being seen as 1955 high-school punk Skinhead in the first film, and as a member of Biff's entourage in 1955 and 1985A in the second movie, Cohen appeared at the close of the third film as "Needles' Gang Member #2" He is standing in the back of the pickup truck, and wearing a gold and black school jacket. Unlike Skinhead, Needles' friend wears his hair long, but his smirk is unmistakable.
Behind the scenes
J.J. Cohen had tested for the role of Biff Tannen, and in commentary to the DVD, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale have stated that he had been their first choice to play Biff. Cohen was taller than Michael J. Fox, and the film creators have stated that Cohen would have been Biff had Fox been in the cast from the outset. However, after Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty McFly, it was decided that a taller actor would be needed for the film's villain.