Some roles stay true to actors throughout their careers, regardless of what other roles they play. Today Tom Hanks may play Mr. Rogers and Robert Langdon, but to many generations of fans the actor will always be known as Forrest Gump. Ultimately, another of the iconic roles of Hanks, the main character in the 1988 film Large, almost went to Robert De Niro, as the film’s lead wife Elizabeth Perkins recently revealed.
“Yes, Robert de niro was actually cast as Josh in the movie ‘Big. He collapsed because he had a scheduling conflict, and then they went to see Tom Hanks. It’s like a totally different movie in my brain with Robert De Niro. “
Large tells the story of a young child who wants to become an adult and who turns into an adult overnight. Tom hanks played the adult version of the character, a literal man-child who tries to adapt to his mature appearance while having the heart of a naive teenager.
The film was a huge box office hit and was one of Hanks’ early box office hits that established him as a reliable leading man. The idea of De Niro instead of Hanks playing the role of a boy trapped in a man’s body is strange, to say the least. Although we would have loved to see De Niro perform the rap song from the film or the dance duo on the giant electric keyboard.
However, these whimsical elements were likely added to the script after De Niro left the project and Hanks was brought in his place. According to Perkins, De Niro’s take on the main character would have been darker, and in fact, the family comedy was originally meant to have a more “horror” vibe.
“[De Niro] was more sullen. It was more of a – a little more of a horror movie. Robert De Niro walks the streets of New York. What Tom Hanks brought there was so much lighter. “
While films where the main character changes bodies are generally shot as comedies, last year Weird, which involved a serial killer swapping bodies with a high school teenager, shows how the concept lends itself to the horror genre as well. So a darker Large starring Robert De Niro looks like it could have been interesting.
It is believed that De Niro, who had played very dramatic roles for many years, wanted to try something different, which led him to pursue the lead role in Large. Yet while audiences never got to see De Niro’s version of Large, the actor managed to dip his toes into the comedy genre the same year with the release of Midnight race, where De Niro played the role of bounty hunter Jack Walsh. Meanwhile, Hanks was able to take the opportunity presented to him by De Niro’s exit to take the lead role in Large his own, relaunching a film career that has grown steadily since.