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Tom Hanks' Character In Big Almost Went To Robert De Niro, Co-Star Elizabeth Perkins Reveals

Daniel Welsh
·Entertainment Reporter
·1 min read

Oscar-winning actor and international treasure Tom Hanks had a huge breakthrough moment in the 1980s thanks to the success of films like Splash and Big.

However, it turns out that one of his most prolific performances of that era almost went to a completely different actor.

His former co-star Elizabeth Perkins has revealed that not only was Robert De Niro originally cast in the lead role of Big, the whole film completely changed in tone when Tom signed on.

Speaking to Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, Elizabeth explained that while De Niro had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict, she actually auditioned with him when she auditioned for her part.

Robert De Niro at last year's Ocsars (Photo: Steve Granitz via Getty Images)
Robert De Niro at last year's Ocsars (Photo: Steve Granitz via Getty Images)

[De Niro’s interpretation of the character] was more moody,” she explained. “It was a little more of a horror movie... Robert De Niro wandering around the streets of New York.

“What Tom Hanks brought to it was so much lighter.”

Big went on to give Tom Hanks his first Golden Globe win and Oscar nomination in 1989.

While he didn’t win the Oscar that year, he eventually scooped two consecutive Academy Awards in 1994 and 1995, for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, respectively.

Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins in Big (Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)
Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins in Big (Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time in recent history that Elizabeth Perkins’ name has been mentioned in connection with a surprising casting switch-up.

Last year, cinematographer Julio Macat – who happens to be Elizabeth’s husband – revealed that she was originally touted for the role of Kevin McAllister’s mum in Home Alone, which eventually went to future Schitt’s Creek star Catherine O’Hara.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.