Robert De Niro Was Originally Cast in Big Instead of Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins Says

Tom Hanks' breakthrough role in Big almost didn't come to be, according to his costar Elizabeth Perkins.

Perkins, who starred in the 1988 comedy opposite Hanks, 64, revealed on Wednesday's episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that a different famed actor was originally cast to play Josh Baskin before Hanks secured the role.

"Robert De Niro was actually cast in the role of Josh," said Perkins, 60. "And then it fell apart because he had a scheduling conflict, and then they went to Tom Hanks."

As host WWHL Andy Cohen expressed shock at the news, Perkins added, "It's like a totally different movie in my brain with Robert De Niro."

Perkins, who played Susan Lawrence in Big, explained that when she auditioned for the film, she read her lines with De Niro, 77.

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

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Later in her WWHL interview, Perkins also recounted kissing Hanks in the film in response to a fan's question about her "favorite" onscreen kiss. "He lays one on me about halfway through the movie," she recalled to Cohen. "I had such a crush on him at the time. I was single."

But Hanks was already off the market at the time. He and wife Rita Wilson had begun dating a few years prior after meeting on the set of the ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies.

"He was with Rita Wilson already," Perkins continued. "They were dating but hadn't gotten married yet. So he was completely off limits, but he was adorable."

Also talking about Big with Page Six last week, the actress said she doesn't think the film's implied love scene between her and Hanks would be made today.

"We don't see them having sex but he does take my shirt off," Perkins said. "Actually, I take my shirt off and he touches my breast, then we cut to the elevator door opening and he's got a big smile on his face. We never say, 'Oh they slept together,' but they definitely fooled around."

Perkins said that whether or not the scene was appropriate given he was a boy in a man's body "was not even a consideration of ours at the time. It was not even something we broached or discussed on any level. Different times."

Now, "they wouldn't have shown that at all. I think we're in a different time," she explained, adding that she's "totally on board with that."

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