Big (1988) Poster



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According to actor Robert Loggia, on the day they filmed the famous keyboard scene at F.A.O. Schwarz, he and Tom Hanks noticed that doubles dressed like them were on hand just in case the two could not do the dance moves correctly. It became their goal to do the entire keyboard number without the aid of the doubles. They succeeded.
To give star Tom Hanks an idea of how a 12 year-old would behave, director Penny Marshall filmed each "grown-up" scene with David Moscow (Young Josh) playing Hanks' part, who then copied Moscow's behavior. Hanks would go on to do something similar for Forrest Gump, when he would spend time with, and imitate Michael Conner Humphreys' (Little Forrest) southern accent to prepare for the part.
The 'Walking Piano', first spotted by the filmmakers at F.A.O. Schwarz toy store, was 6.5 feet long and played only one octave. So the piano was too small to play the notes director Penny Marshall needed (the script was written that Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia would play 'Heart and Soul' on the piano). So she contacted Remo Saraceni, the creator of the 'Walking Piano', and said she needed one built large enough to accommodate the dancing feet of two grown men. So the obliging Saraceni made a 16-foot long, full three-octave piano wide enough for the scene.
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.
Tom Hanks was the first choice to play Josh Baskin but was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with the films Dragnet (1987) and Punchline (1988). Robert De Niro was then offered the lead role, and was rejected because his salary demand ($6 million) was too high. Hanks then became available and accepted the lead role for $2 million. David Moscow was originally cast not as young Josh, but as Billy, since he didn't look like De Niro. When Hanks was given the role, Moscow was recast as young Josh.
When Penny Marshall got the script, nobody was interested in doing the movie. It was only when Robert De Niro announced he wanted the part of Josh that the script received attention from people wanting to do it.
In preparation for the role, Tom Hanks met David Moscow and studied videotapes of him to see how he behaved and spoke. Hanks also felt that Moscow should just be himself so that the Josh Baskin character persona would be that of a real 12-year-old.
According to Monica Rushton, Jared Rushton (Billy), David Moscow (little Josh) and Tom Hanks (big Josh) were put in a room with a bunch of toys to play with. Having silly string, they tried to use it to gross each other out and that is how the silly string scene between Hanks and Rushton appeared in the movie.
John Travolta was one of director Marshall's top choices for Josh Baskin, and he wanted to do it, but the studio didn't want him, considering him to be "box office poison" at the time.
Robert Loggia's character is based on then FAO Schwarz CEO Peter Harris. The character is a youthful, albeit goofy, retailer, true to Harris' own charisma.
The computer game Josh plays in the film, "Cavern of the Evil Wizard", was not a real computer game. It was created for the film.
Jared Rushton's (Billy) hair was dyed for the film. He's a natural blonde.
David Moscow wore colored contact lenses to match the eye color of Tom Hanks.
Along with 1987's Spaceballs (1987) and 1988's Caddyshack II (1988) and Beetlejuice (1988), notable for containing "the F word" in a film rated PG during the PG-13 era.
The amusement park where Josh finds "Zoltar" is Playland Amusement Park, which has been operating in Rye, Westchester County, New York, since 1928.
Tom Hanks improvised the scene where he eats the baby corn as if it were a normal-sized corn on the cob.
In the film, Josh comes up with the brilliant idea of robots that transform into prehistoric, giant insects. His description is nearly identical to the Insecticons, a group of robots from The Transformers toy line. The Insecticon toys were released three years before the film.
Harrison Ford turned down the role of Josh Baskin.
The Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop rap was Tom Hanks's idea. According to Tom Hanks in an interview with Jonathan Ross, Hanks stated that the rap was something his son had learned at Summer Camp and Tom Hanks came up with the rap for the film and made up the words to the rap.
Debra Winger was original considered for the Susan Lawrence role but could not take the part because she was pregnant at the time. She recommended Elizabeth Perkins.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Fantasy" in June 2008.
It was rumored that an alternate ending has been filmed in which Susan had used the Zoltar machine and had made herself a little girl again and is seen sitting in Josh's class and that this ending was used in the CBS/FOX video release in New Zealand. However, no alternate ending had been filmed. This is however the exact ending of the film, 14 Going on 30 (1988) which was released around the same time and has a very similar plot. Possibly the source of this rumour.
The scenes in Josh's neighborhood were filmed in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. The amusement park scene in the beginning of the movie where the wish was made was filmed at Ross Dock Picnic Area on the Hudson in Fort Lee. It is not an amusement park but was set up as one. The George Washington Bridge can be seen clearly in some of the shots. The scene at the end where he finds the machine were filmed on the pier at Rye Playland, in New York's Westchester County.
The musical version of "Big" opened at the Shubert Theater on April 28, 1996, ran for 193 performances and was nominated for the 1996 Tony Awards for the Best Original Book and Score.
The "Walking Piano" used in the film's trademark scene was created by an Italian inventor named Remo Saraceni. Mr. Saraceni's many musical inventions grace children's organizations worldwide. As of 2008, his famous Walking Piano is currently being implemented into a piano instructional game called Piano Wizard made by Allegro Multimedia.
The building used as the toy company office is now a Home Depot hardware store.
Robin Williams was considered for the role of Josh Baskin.
For the two missing social security numbers on Joshua's employment application, he gives his age (12). Because he stammers, saying "Oh" twice, the interviewer thinks he gave a three-digit response, 0-1-2 (pronounced "oh-one-two"). Combined with the six-digit locker combination Billy gave him, this would appear to be a full social security number.
A comic book adaptation was released by Hit Comics in 1988.
The script was first developed in 1984.
Frances Fisher was cast as Billy's mother but all of her scenes were deleted. Her scenes were reintroduced on the Extended Edition DVD.
The name of the child actress playing Josh's baby sister Rachel is not in the credits and remains unknown.
The film's budget was estimated at $17 million.
The offices of an actual advertising agency on 23rd Street in the Chelsea district in New York City was used for the scenes involving the fictitious MacMillan Toys Company, which were very hard on both the film crew and the actual workers of the agency. The location fee of $25,000 was donated to the American Craft Museum by the agency and Twentieth Century-Fox.
The Shimmy Coco Pop rap was not in the screenplay and was Tom Hanks's idea and he made up the words to the rap.
Dennis Quaid told Larry King that he turned down the part in "Big" because he wanted to do Everybody's All-American (1988).
Josh and Billy attend a Yankees game in July 1987. Tim Stoddard is pitching to Angel Salazar with Bo Jackson leading off first base, which is defended by Don Mattingly.
John Landis was considered to direct this movie. But Landis turned it down due to him directing Coming to America (1988).
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Steve Guttenberg was considered for Josh Baskin.
Part of a late 1980s mini-cycle of age-swap / body-swap pictures. The movies included Big (1988), 18 Again! (1988), Vice Versa (1988), 14 Going on 30 (1988), Dream a Little Dream (1989), and Like Father Like Son (1987).
Gary Busey auditioned for the Josh Baskin role.
Albert Brooks turned down the role of Josh Baskin.
In the party scene, Josh tries caviar, which he hates. He spits it out & wipes his tongue with a napkin. In You've Got Mail (1998), Tom Hanks responds to Meg Ryans comment "that caviar is a garnish!" by scooping up all the remaining caviar for himself.
The tune Josh and MacMillan play on the piano is "Heart and Soul" by Hoagy Carmichael.
Barry Sonnenfeld worked as director of photography for this movie. During the sleepover scene, where Josh shows Susan his New York apartment and toys, Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots" can be heard playing in the background. Will Smith would later sample this song for his successful Men in Black (1997) theme, written for a hit franchise directed by none other than Barry Sonnenfeld.
The football jersey Susan is wearing to bed is a NY Jets Jersey with #99 on it. At that time Mark Gastineau wore #99 for the Jets.
The Zoltar wishing machine is based on fortune telling machines at video arcades and amusement parks, which you receive a card with a prediction of the reader's future.
Tracy Reiner, Jon Lovitz, and Tom Hanks would go on to star in 1992's "A League of Their Own", also directed by Penny Marshall.
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Bill Murray, Judge Reinhold and Michael Keaton were considered for the role of Josh Baskin
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28 years later, Tom Hanks and Stephen Colbert parodied the film on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (2015). Which Hanks (As himself) finally finds the Zoltar machine (Colbert) in a storage room and Zoltar mistakes Hanks for Tim Allen and Hanks reminds Zoltar what happened in the film and Hanks wishes for Zoltar to make him 30 years old again and Zoltar gives Hank a film script he had written and Zoltar grants Hanks his wish.
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When Josh is watching TV alone in his room, Gene Hackman can be seen. The movie is The French Connection (1971).
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In the sleepover scene, board games of "Fireball Island" and "GI-Joe: Commando Attack Game" by Milton Bradley are seen behind Susan when Josh gives Susan a glow-in-the-dark compass ring.
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The toy of a robot disguised as a skyscraper that Josh plays with, is based on the "Transformers" toy franchise which Transformer robots disguises themselves as vehicles.
If you look closely behind the interviewer when Josh is being interviewed at McMillan's Toys, there is a poster of the 80s game "Whack Attack" by Mattel on the wall.
Susan's car is a 1988 Subaru XT6.
Mercedes Ruehl (Mrs Baskin) is twenty-six years older than David Moscow (young Josh), so she'd be old enough to play his mum. Ruehl is only eight years older than Tom Hanks (older Josh).
When Josh & Paul are playing racquetball there is a yellow Penske truck in the background that moves in & out of the shots
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During the 1980s, Jared Rushton (Billy) had appeared in a "Barbie and the Rockers" TV commercial. In this film, Josh (Tom Hanks) works at McMillan's toy company.
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The film's tagline "You're only young once!" may have been the film's original title.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The costumers of the movie took special care to ensure that Susan's character realistically transitions from uptight businesswoman at the beginning of the film, to a sweet, almost girl-like persona that she is at the end of the film. Notice that her wardrobe and hair gradually scene by scene become less and less adult (hair goes from pinned up to loose and with schoolgirl hand bands, clothes from tight suits to loose girlish angora separates and young skirts, shoes from heels to flats), and more more that of a schoolgirl. "Susan" may turn down the offer to become a little girl again, but we are left with the clear impression that thanks to her relationship with the Tom Hanks "adult" character, she has found her inner child.
When Josh makes his wish on the Zoltar Speaks fortune teller machine to be big and when he makes his wish to be a 12 year old boy again, the wind starts to blow.
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