Why did Topher Grace do “That ’70s Show” in eighty-six?
New York-born Christopher John Grace is best known for his iconic portrayal of Eric Forman on the popular high school hangout sitcom, according to IMDb. It was Grace’s “fifth time she’s ever traded,” according to Entertainment Weekly. “I had a weird origin story where I was in a high school game and I was really only in it because I sprained my ankle and I couldn’t be on the tennis team,” he told EW. “I was at boarding school in New Hampshire and the girl who did the sets, her parents were big Hollywood producers and they produced ‘That ’70s Show’ and ‘Third Rock From the Sun.'” Really is who do you know!
After seven seasons on the Fox sitcom, Grace was ready to leave the ’70s behind, so to speak, and leave the show. (In the series, Eric left Wisconsin to teach in Africa.) There was one more season without him, although he returned briefly for the finale. But much like his co-stars Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, bigger screens really awaited him. From (the cult classic, shall we say?) “Spider-Man 3 to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar to 2019’s Oscar-winning BlacKkKlansman — in which Grace quickly portrayed KKK leader David Duke – the star made up for that early Hollywood connection. Make that Great! But it still begs the question, why did Grace leave That ’70s Show earlier than his co-stars in the first place?
Topher Grace left That ’70s Show for the big screen
So why did Topher Grace leave That ’70s Show? If his impressive film resume was any indication, yes, he felt the sitcom was holding him back. Also, with a series salary of “$250,000 to $350,000 an episode” per Celebrity Net Worth, Grace could clearly be starting to get choosy. That’s pretty much the goal in Hollywood, isn’t it? Either way, that’s exactly what he did.
“I felt really confident and good, and it struck me that I was really lucky to have been on a sitcom for many years,” Grace told Indiewire in 2018. “That’s when I realized I didn’t really need a lot more money.” According to Indiewire, “Grace recalled telling his agents, ‘I don’t want to do anything but work with writers.'” His agents held it for a financial risk, but from Spike Lee joints to Christopher Nolan epics, Grace has proven herself as a dramatic actor indeed. “I didn’t care [about the size of the role or the salary]. That’s what I wanted to do with my life,” he added. “I just want to work with people where I see their film and I’m like, ‘I’m going to do whatever your next film is.’ I don’t have to sit there and decide if it’s going to be good or not.”
With a net worth today of $14 million per Celebrity Net Worth, that strategy has clearly paid off…literally and artistically!
Topher Grace will return to play Eric Foreman on That ’90s Show
The reboot of a popular series — and its success — often hinges on whether the people who popularized it return or not. Let’s face it, nobody wants to see a That ’70s Show spinoff without someone from the original cast. Luckily, according to Deadline, five of the six original cast members — not Danny Masterson — are returning to reprise their roles. That includes Topher Grace. That ’90s Show follows Eric and Donna’s daughter Leia in 1995, who is spending the summer with her grandparents, Kitty and Red.
Grace herself confirmed the casting Twitter in April by showing off his Point Place Class of ’77 shirt. “Yup, still fits. #hellowisconsin,” the actor wrote. A… create ‘”’70s Show’ reboot or spinoff had been talked about for years — there was even a short-lived spinoff, That ’80s Show, in 2002 — so fans probably weren’t too surprised when the news finally broke.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 about a possible reboot, Grace said he wouldn’t hesitate to embrace his character again. “We were all very close and we had that experience together every day,” he told the outlet. “It was great to air it once a week, but I’m still good friends with those guys.” Grace added at the time that getting everyone back together for a reboot would be difficult. But it looks like everyone’s got their schedules sorted out, and we’ll be reliving their friendship chemistry.