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Robert De Niro almost played Tom Hanks's role in a classic comedy

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Actress Elizabeth Perkins appeared on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen Wednesday where she revealed just how much different the 1988 classic Big could have been, and almost was. In the movie, Perkins plays the love interest of adult Josh, played by Tom Hanks. But that role nearly went to Robert De Niro.

“Robert De Niro was actually cast in the role of Josh in the movie Big.” Perkins said. “Then 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.”

Big may be best remembered for that classic scene in which Hanks and Robert Loggia play “Chopsticks” on a giant ground piano in a toy store. But for all of Hanks’s childlike playfulness in the role, Perkins revealed that it would have been a much, much different movie had De Niro stuck with it.

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

Video Transcript

ELIZABETH PERKINS: Robert De Niro was actually cast in the role of Josh in the movie "Big." And then--

ANDY COHEN: You're kidding.

ELIZABETH PERKINS: No. Then, 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.

KYLIE MAR: Elizabeth Perkins, who played adult Josh's girlfriend in the 1988 classic "Big," appeared on "Watch What Happens Live" Wednesday, where she spoke about Robert De Niro originally being cast in the role that Tom Hanks made famous.

ANDY COHEN: Did you workshop it or rehearse it at all with De Niro?

ELIZABETH PERKINS: Yes. I actually-- when I auditioned for the film, I auditioned with him-- with Robert De Niro.

KYLIE MAR: While Hanks brought a certain playfulness to the character, Perkins revealed just how much different the movie would have been had De Niro stuck with the role.

ELIZABETH PERKINS: He was more moody. It was-- it was more of a little bit of a horror movie, Robert De Niro wandering around the streets of New York. What Tom Hanks brought to it was, like, so much lighter.

ANDY COHEN: Right. And childlike, of course.

KYLIE MAR: Speaking of classic movies, Perkins also revealed the one reason she sometimes wishes she'd taken the Catherine O'Hara role in "Home Alone."

ELIZABETH PERKINS: 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 if I had.

ANDY COHEN: Oh, wow. That's amazing.