De Niro was originally cast in the role of 30-year-old Josh and apparently brought a "dark" take to the character.
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  • Movie

The 1988 family-comedy Big starring Tom Hanks apparently had a big horror vibe to it originally.

That's according to actress Elizabeth Perkins, who played MacMillen Toy Company employee Susan and recently shared this tidbit with Andy Cohen on an episode of Watch What Happens Live this week.

"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," Perkins said. "It's like a totally different movie in my brain with Robert De Niro — and dark."

Big, directed by Penny Marshall, sees 12-year-old Josh making a wish upon an arcade fortune teller and transforming into a 30-year-old man who then gets a job at the MacMillen Toy Company. According to Perkins, De Niro brought a different energy to the character than Hanks.

"[De Niro] was more moody. It was a little more of a horror movie," she remarked. "Robert De Niro wandering around the streets of New York. What Tom Hanks brought to it was so much lighter."

Reps for Hanks and De Niro did not immediately respond to EW's requests for further comment.

While we all ponder this more Taxi Driver version of Big, Hanks had once told Film Comment that "the ground rules" for the movie "were laid out definitively by the script and from discussion with Penny."

"We called it INSH: innocence and shyness," he said. "The two governing traits of this kid... We rehearsed more on Big than on any film I've ever made—for about three weeks before we started—to the point of almost being numb. But it helped in the long run because once you've done it so many different ways, you cast off all your bad habits."

Related content:

Big (Movie)
type
  • Movie
mpaa
runtime
  • 104 minutes
director
  • Penny Marshall

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