According to co-star Elizabeth Perkins, the ‘Forrest Gump’ actor was a replacement for the ‘Taxi Driver’ star who was originally cast for the male lead in the classic movie.
- Apr 10, 2021
Actress Elizabeth Perkins reveals she actually auditioned opposite De Niro to land her role as the love interest of Hanks’ adult character Josh Baskin in the 1988 hit, which would likely have taken on a darker tone than the finished product.
“Robert De Niro was actually cast in the role of Josh in the movie Big,” she shared during an appearance on America’s “Watch What Happens Live“. “It fell apart because he had a scheduling conflict, and then they (casting directors) went to Tom Hanks.”
“It’s like, a totally different movie in my brain with Robert De Niro. He was more moody. It was more of a – a little more of a horror movie,” she joked. “Robert De Niro wandering around the streets of New York. What Tom Hanks brought to it was so much lighter.”
The Penny Marshall film centres on a young boy who wishes to be “big” and finds himself turned into an adult overnight.
The major casting switch ended up being a dream come true for Perkins, who has such fond memories of sharing an onscreen kiss with Hanks.
“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.”
Even though Perkins was lusting after Hanks, he was already taken in real life.
“He was with Rita Wilson already,” she continued. “They were dating but hadn’t gotten married yet. So he was completely off limits, but he was adorable.”
Hanks and Wilson went on to wed in 1988 – the same year “Big” was released.