Robert De Niro Was Originally Cast In ‘Big’ Before Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins Confirms

Elizabeth Perkins revealed a surprising Robert De Niro fact during an appearance on Wednesday’s “Watch What Happens Live!”.

Perkins, who played Susan alongside Tom Hanks’ Josh in the beloved 1988 film “Big”, told Andy Cohen that Hanks’ part was originally due to be played by De Niro.

She explained how she’d actually auditioned with De Niro before Hanks.

Perkins shared, “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.”

“He was more moody. It was more of a — a little more of a horror movie. Robert De Niro wandering around the streets of New York,” Perkins said of De Niro. “What Tom Hanks brought to it was so much lighter.”

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Perkins then spoke about her crush on Hanks, revealing how he was her most memorable on-screen kiss.

Speaking of much-loved movies, Perkins also spoke about passing up the role to play Kevin’s mom in “Home Alone”, which ultimately went to Canada’s own Catherine O’Hara.

Perkins gushed, “I love ‘Home Alone’. Sometimes I do wish I had taken that role because my husband was the director of photography on it, and I probably would have met him several years earlier. But Catherine O’Hara is the queen. Everything she does is gold.”

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Perkins’ comments come as she recently told the Guardian that that sex scene in “Big” with Hanks wouldn’t happen today.

The movie saw a 13-year-old boy [Josh] wish to get bigger in size with the help of a fortune-telling machine. When he woke up the next morning, he discovered that his wish has been fulfilled.

“Oh, I know. I’ve been called a pedophile,” Perkins said of the part, adding: “You know, I get it. The only thing I can say is it was a different time. It was the ’80s; it was not viewed through that lens and I get that it is being viewed through that lens now.”

Perkins continued, “I don’t think that scene…” referring to the bedroom encounter in which Josh put his hand on Susan’s breast, with it being implied that they were about to have sex, would happen now, she said.

When asked if there were any concerns at the time, the star shared: “If you look at it in the movie, it was sort of used as a joke. Here he is the next morning, the elevator door opens and he bounces out like: ‘Wow, I just had my first sexual experience.’”

He was now seen as a man, with Perkins telling the paper: “It was a setup for a joke that today would not be acceptable.”

“Oh, we had several different takes,” she said. “We had me being horrified, me being scared. There are a lot of different ways that we can go, but I think Penny [Marshall, the director] chose very carefully – that there is a lot of admiration between Susan and Josh, and ultimately a great friendship.”

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