Robert De Niro Originally Cast in 'Big' Before Tom Hanks, According to Elizabeth Perkins
By Liz Calvario
Tom Hanks' beloved film Big almost looked a bit different.
The actor starred in the 1988 fantasy film. But as former co-star Elizabeth Perkins revealed this week, there was another actor who originally landed the role of Josh Baskin. The actress, who played Susan Lawrence in Big, shared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen earlier this week that Robert De Niro was the first leading man attached to the project.
"Robert De Niro was actually cast in the role of Josh," Perkins, 60, shared. "And then it fell apart because he had a scheduling conflict, and then they went to Tom Hanks."
"It's like a totally different movie in my brain with Robert De Niro," she continued, adding that she auditioned for the movie with De Niro.
When asked about her experience reading lines with De Niro, she jokingly said, "He was more moody. It was a little bit of a horror movie. It was Robert De Niro wandering around the streets of New York. What Tom Hanks brought to it was so much lighter."
In that same episode, Perkins also admitted that her greatest on-screen kiss was with Hanks in Big. While he was "completely off-limits" because he was dating his now-wife Rita Wilson, she called him "adorable."
"He lays one on me about halfway through the movie," she recalled. "I had such a crush on him at the time. I was single. He was with Rita Wilson already. They were dating but hadn't gotten married yet. So he was completely off limits, but he was adorable."
Directed by Penny Marshall, Big tells the story of a young boy who makes a wish to be older and then ages to adulthood overnight. The comedy was a major one for Hanks' career and even earned him his first Oscar Best Actor nomination.
Back in 2016, Hanks spoofed a scene from the film while on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. In the sketch, the actor finds Zoltar, the film's fortune-telling machine played by Colbert, and asks it to make him 30 years old again.
"I learned being older isn't always what it’s cracked up to be — a lesson I'm constantly learning every day at my age," Hanks says to the machine. "Just yesterday, I tried to jump on one of those big floor pianos and do a dance; I swear I heard my hip snap…Make me 30 again."