Some roles remain with actors throughout their careers, regardless of the other roles they play. Today, Tom Hanks may be playing Mr. Rogers and Robert Langdon, but to generations of fans, the actor will always be known as Forrest Gump. As it turns out, another of the iconic roles of Hanks, the lead character in the 1988 movie Big, almost went to Robert De Niro, as female protagonist Elizabeth Perkins recently revealed.
“Yes, Robert de Niro was actually cast in the role of Josh in the movie ‘Big. 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 head with Robert De Niro. “
Big tells the story of a young child who wishes to grow up and turns into an adult overnight. Tom Hanks played the adult version of the character, a literal male child who tries to adapt to his grown-up looks while still having the heart of a naive teenager.
The film was a huge blockbuster and was one of Hanks’ first blockbusters to make him a reliable protagonist. The idea of De Niro playing the role of a boy trapped in a man’s body instead of Hanks is strange to say the least. Although we would have loved to see De Niro perform the rap song or dance duet from the movie over the giant electric keyboard.
However, those whimsical elements were likely added to the script after De Niro left the project and Hanks was brought on board in his place. According to Perkins, De Niro’s interpretation of the main character would have been darker, and in fact the family-friendly comedy was originally intended to have a more “horror” atmosphere.
[De Niro] was moodier. It was more of a … a bit more of a horror movie. Robert De Niro wanders the streets of New York. What Tom Hanks brought in was so much lighter. ‘
While movies in which the main character changes body are generally filmed as comedies, last year Freaky, in which a serial killer switched bodies with a high school student, shows just how well the concept lends itself to the horror genre. So a darker one Big starring Robert De Niro sounds like it could have been interesting.
It is believed that De Niro, who has played heavily dramatic roles for many years, wanted to try something different, which led him to pursue the lead in BigStill, while the public never got to see De Niro’s version of BigIn the same year, the actor managed to dip his toes into the comedy genre with the release of Midnight Run, where De Niro played bounty hunter Jack Walsh. Meanwhile, Hanks was able to use the opportunity afforded him by De Niro’s departure to star in Big his own, kicking off a film career that has grown ever stronger ever since.