Today, Saturday 3 June, is the 25th anniversary of the premiere of I wish I was big (Great), the comedy with Tom Hankswhich meant his first Oscar nomination and definitively becoming a celebrity in Hollywood.
Although it was not the first success of the actor of Save Private Ryan, love melody AND Thrown awayHanks had already proven he could do comedies with less offbeat traits Sketches -his first leading role, in 1984, the same year he Single party-, when he fell in love with a mermaid, confronted by Daryl Hannah.
We will see the shifts that took place until he was the one who got the role of Josh Baskin, the boy who makes a wish in an amusement park, and it comes true. Josh wishes he was great, as indicated by the Spanish title of the Penny Marshall play – with which Hanks will still work in A very special team, with Geena Davis and Madonna–, and wakes up the next morning in the body of an adult. But she continues to be and think like a child.
Next, we’ll look at some curious facts and anecdotes from the previous shoot and the film, which had a budget of only $18 million – 2 of which went to Hanks – and raised $151 million worldwide.
- Tom Hanks was the first choice for the role of Josh Baskin, but he was unavailable due to filming conflicts, first with trawl (1987), with Dan Aykroyd, and later with punchline (1988), with Sally Field. It was then that they offered it to Robert Deniro. The writers began tweaking the script for a 13-year-old boy to better suit the actor, but the actor of The Godfather II he asked for $6 million, which was deemed excessive. Hanks would later sign for $2 million.
- Penny Marshall became the first female director to helm a film that grossed more than $100 million.
- It is unknown who played Josh’s younger sister Rachel, as the child actress does not appear in the credits. To this day, her identity is unknown and remains a mystery.
- The character of Robert Loggia is based on who was the managing director of the famous toy store where part of the movie was filmed, FAO Schwarz, Peter Harris. According to Robert Loggia, the day they shot the famous “Walking Piano” scene in the FAO Schwarz toy store – which no longer exists -, he and Tom Hanks noticed that there were doubles dressed like them, in case they didn’t the movements of the dance could do it correctly. They promised to do the whole thing without the help of doubles. And they did.
- To give Tom Hanks an idea of what a 13-year-old boy would act like, director Penny Marshall filmed every scene “as an adult” with David Moscow (Josh, as a boy) playing Hanks, and then Hanks copied the Moscow behavior. Hanks would then do something like Forrest Gump (1994), when he spent time with Michael Conner Humphreys (the boy’s Forrest) and imitated his southern accent to prepare for the role.
- And David Moscow wore colored contact lenses to match Tom Hanks’ eye color.
- When Penny Marshall received the script, no Hollywood studio was interested in making the film. It wasn’t until Robert De Niro announced he wanted the role of Josh Baskin that the project began to float.
- John Travolta was one of the director’s best choices for the role of Josh, and he wanted to do it, but Fox didn’t want him: he was considered a “box office poison” at the time.
Harrison Ford and Robin Williams, out
- Meanwhile, there have been several actors who have turned down playing Josh Baskin. Can you imagine Harrison Ford? Steve Guttenberg was considered for the role of Josh Baskin, but turned it down because he was busy filming. three men and a child (1987). Dennis Quaid said no, because he wanted to do When I Fall in Love (1988). Bill Murray set out to make Ghosts Strike Back (1988). Others who said thanks but no were Jeff Bridges and Albert Brooks.
- Robin Williams was another option, and he later starred Jack (1996), by Francis Ford Coppola, in which he was a ten-year-old boy in the body of a 40-year-old man, because he was affected by Werner’s syndrome. They also scouted Bill Murray, Judge Reinhold and Michael Keaton. Reinhold would star in his own ‘adult turned child’ movie. Vice versa.
- Debra Winger was originally considered for the role of Susan Lawrence but was unable to take it due to being pregnant. The actress of the power of affection she suggested that Josh should turn into a girl who turns into an adult. Director Penny Marshall rejected this idea and decided to stick with it as a child. It was also Winger who recommended Elizabeth Perkins. Tom Hanks was 32 and Elizabeth Perkins was 28 during filming.
- Frances Fisher played Carol Baskin, but all of her scenes were cut. They were reissued on the Extended Edition DVD.
- John Landis was considered to direct the film, but declined to do so A prince in New York (1988). The same thing happened with Ivan Reitman, but he preferred to do it Twins. Richard Donner, Frank Oz, Amy Heckerling and John Hughes were also approached, but approved the project.
- And Steven Spielberg was also going to direct the film, but he didn’t want to steal the lead role from his sister Anne, who co-wrote the script.
- There is one scene, which was removed upon release, and later appeared on the DVD release: After Josh tells Susan that he is 13 and wished to be great in Zoltar’s car, she checks his wallet while sleeping, and discovers a baseball card with chewing gum on it and his “Zoltar Speaks” card.
- Such was the success of the film that a musical version of Great, which opened at the Shubert Theater on April 28, 1996, with Daniel Jenkins as Josh. It ran for 193 performances and was nominated for the 1996 Tony Awards for Best Original Book and Score.
- And almost immediately after the film’s premiere, Hit Comics released a comic book adaptation, that same 1988.
- The Zoltar machine was developed exclusively for the film. They were based on similar fortune-telling machines from the early 20th century, most of which contained female gypsy characters.
- The film was included in the 2000 American Film Institute’s list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies (ranked #42).
- Cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld -later director of men in black– said director Penny Marshall tried to fire him after the first week of production, but studio executives wouldn’t let him.
- I wish I was big he was released six months later when I was older (1987), an Italian film with a very similar plot. It was rumored that it was a remake, directed by Franco Amurri, and starring Renato Pozzetto. But a short gap between the two previews would confirm that this is just a coincidence.
- There are other scenes that were filmed and didn’t make it to theaters. For example, before Josh comes home and tells Carol about the Zoltar machine, he takes advantage of being an adult and takes money from a redheaded boy, uses it to buy food, drinks water from a fountain, and He goes away. let the other children do it. They were cut mainly because Josh came off as a selfish big boy.
- The toy robot in a building suit that Josh plays with is a parody of the toy franchise. transformers (1984) created by Hasbro, these robots with the ability to transform into vehicles.
- Inflation is everywhere. Josh’s first salary of $187 in 1988 would equal $481 in 2023.
And even the admission price is not the same…
Charles Hurd is an entertainment journalist for News Rebeat. He brings a fresh and engaging voice to the world of pop culture, covering the latest developments in film, television, music, and more.