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This Oscar Winner Was Originally Cast in Big Before Tom Hanks

Jess Cohen
·2 min read
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No doubt Tom Hanks was the heart and soul of Big.

But Elizabeth Perkins, who played Susan in the 1988 movie, just revealed that the star wasn't originally chosen to step atop that iconic piano as Josh. During a recent appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Perkins told host Andy Cohen that another Oscar winner was originally cast as the film's lead.

"Robert de Niro was actually cast in the role of Josh in the movie Big," she revealed to a shocked Cohen. "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."

Perkins also confirmed she originally auditioned with de Niro prior to the casting swap. "He was more moody," she said, comparing him to Hanks. "It was more of, a little bit of a horror movie, it was Robert de Niro wandering around the streets of New York."

Tom Hanks' Best Roles

She also noted that what Hanks brought to the role was "so much lighter." And the performance clearly clicked with audiences, as the Penny Marshall film went on to become a box office success. It also earned Hanks his very first Oscar nomination.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Actress <a href="https://twitter.com/Elizbethperkins?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ElizbethPerkins</a> says Robert De Niro was originally cast as Josh in the 1988 film Big. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWHL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWHL</a> <a href="https://t.co/Qi7PyaxEQL">pic.twitter.com/Qi7PyaxEQL</a></p>&mdash; WWHL (@BravoWWHL) <a href="https://twitter.com/BravoWWHL/status/1379998314909814790?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 8, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

During her virtual appearance on WWHL, Perkins also admitted she had "such a crush" on Hanks while playing his on-screen love interest. "I was single, he was with Rita Wilson already, they were dating, they hadn't gotten married yet," Perkins said of Hanks' now-wife. "So he was completely off limits. But he was adorable."

Tom Hanks, Big
Tom Hanks, Big

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