Tom Hanks Project – “Big” Preview

9 Jan

bigdvdFinally a Hanks movie that demands that we return to previews. “Splash” was the movie that put him on the map, but “Big” was the one that made him a star*. The film grossed over $100 million, earned Hanks a Golden Globe win and his first Oscar nomination, along with a best screenplay nom. I highly recommend the recently released 25th anniversary Blu-Ray/DVD edition on sale for under $13 on Amazon. I’ve spent hours going through all the extras so you know exactly what to and what not to watch on this excellent DVD set. You should get it. It plays the “Big” piano when you open it**. But first, let’s get to some trivia.

*I’m pretty confident that this was the first Hanks film I ever saw, or at the very least, the first one where I was cognizant that it was Hanks in the film. This is the film that made me put his face in a collage of other people I adored on my desk in high school. This collage mostly featured Hanson and cute boys, so Hanks’ inclusion is kind of a big deal.

**This has been a popular move of late. Just sitting there with the DVD case, opening and closing it.



  • Big was Nominated for Academy Award for Best Screenplay, and Tom was nominated for best actor. He won the Golden Globe for Best Actor but lost the Oscar to Dustin Hoffman for “Rain Man.”
  • Co-Written by Steven Spielberg’s sister. Steven was mad she didn’t bring the movie to him to direct.
  • Harrison Ford, Robert Deniro and Albert Brooks turned down the role. Deniro was very close to being Josh Baskin. Surprisingly close if you watch the DVD special features. So close, in fact, he had actually ACCEPTED the role — they just couldn’t ever get him under contract. This little tidbit blows my mind.
  • Dance doubles were on hand for the piano dance scene, but Hanks and Loggia practiced so much they were better dancers than the stunt doubles. Penny Marshall also really wanted the pair to do the piano scene themselves, because she really wanted the sense of fun to come through.
  • Penny Marshall became the first female director to ever direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million at the box office with this movie.
  • Budget: $18 million. Gross: $114 million.

Blu-Ray Notes – Guide to the 25th Anniversary DVD


Order you should watch the featurettes in: Start with the deleted scenes and then go through as they’re listed here for optimal viewing pleasure.

Deleted Scenes: Feel free to not watch the Penny Marshall intros. She adds nothing. I’d say just hit play all on the deleted scenes. There’s a lot of great stuff on there, with Hanks and Billy picking out a suit for the company party, a scene with Josh on the back of a milk carton and a heartbreaking scene of Hanks calling his mom to ask about stomach aches, disguising the call as a survey. Too adorable. We’re going to watch the extended version of the film as well. I assume these will all be in there. Some of the deleted scenes make sense that they ended up on the cutting room floor, but other are really special glimpses into the additional character development envisioned for the movie.


Chemistry of a Classic: Really solid feature. I showed Caitlin this first after we went through the deleted scenes. A lot of info on casting. It’s fun to see where all the actors are now, especially the red head who played Billy who now has a goatee and eyebrow piercing. They go pretty in depth on Tom’s ability to really act like a child and who was behind the baby corn scene, the big piano and how they thought they were making a potential straight to video movie, instead of a classic. Penny Marshall comes across as a bit brash in this feature, but I kind of like that tough-as-nails approach. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been to be one of very few female directors of her time. I was SUPER bummed they couldn’t track down Hanks to make any comments on the feature, but what can ya do. The man is busy.

Big Beginnings: Starts a little slow with just the writers talking about how they came up with the idea for the movie over lunch, but really picks up when producer James L. Brooks joins them. They tell us interesting tidbits like how it was Penny who got Tom in the movie instead of Robert Deniro, which they acknowledge would have had to be a more “street smart” character. Worth watching first for the origin story.


Carnival Party Newswrap: Really short, but awesome footage of the premier of the movie. The narration is so ridiculous and misguided, but adorably 80s. Let it refresh you before one last feature. It’s hilarious. Definitely peep this.

Hollywood Backstory: Big Most of this will feel repetitive at this point. You’ll already know that they had to give the kid color contacts so he looked more like Hanks. You’ll know how there were already three similar movies coming out before “Big” and they were worried no one would see it. Only serious “Big” or DVD extras fans should still be watching. Stick with it, though. It covers a few things you haven’t seen yet.

Don’t watch: The Work of Play: Really lame interviews with people who work at toy companies currently. Not worth your time. I have not watched this but now I wanna watch it. I LOVE hearing about people who make toys!!

Instead of watching the trailers on the DVD, watch this hilarious re-cutting of the “Big” trailer to make it look like a creepy thriller.

Tom Hanks’ Golden Globe speech: Ironically, Hanks beats Deniro, who was shockingly close to getting the role. Hanks is charming as ever giving shout outs to everyone, especially his kid counterpart and has a great little “is something wrong with my suit?” bit. Oh, and a great shout out to Rita. Watch it and smile. This is the first film that utilizes the innocence of Tom Hanks. Penny Marshall points it out, and I’m so glad she does. Nice try, all the movies that tried to make us think he was a womanizer. Also: “I married a Greek babe.” Love you, Hanks. So much.


One Response to “Tom Hanks Project – “Big” Preview”


  1. Introduction to The Tom Hanks Project | rockloveaustin - January 9, 2014

    […] Big – 1988 Preview […]

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