Big (1988) Poster



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According to 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 Tom Hanks an idea of how a twelve 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 Michael Conner Humphreys (Young Forrest) and imitate his 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 sixteen-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 dollars 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 (six million dollars) was too high. Hanks then became available and accepted the lead role for two million dollars. 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.
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 twelve-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.
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.
Robert Loggia's character is based on then F.A.O. Schwarz CEO Peter Harris. The character is a youthful, albeit goofy, retailer, true to Harris' own charisma.
John Travolta was one of 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.
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.
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.
Tom Hanks improvised the scene where he eats the baby corn as if it were a normal-sized corn on the cob.
Along with Spaceballs (1987), Caddyshack II (1988), and Beetlejuice (1988), it's notable for containing the "F" word in a film rated PG during the PG-13 era.
David Moscow wore colored contact lenses to match the eye color of Tom Hanks.
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.
Jared Rushton's (Billy) hair was dyed for the film. He's a natural blonde.
The amusement park where Josh finds "Zoltar" is Playland Amusement Park, which has been operating in Rye, Westchester County, New York, since 1928.
Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Fantasy" in June 2008.
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.
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.
Harrison Ford turned down the role of Josh Baskin.
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 rumor.
The name of the child actress playing Josh's baby sister Rachel is not in the credits and remains unknown.
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.
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.
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 building used as the toy company office is now a Home Depot hardware store.
Robin Williams was considered for the role of Josh Baskin.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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 film's budget was estimated at seventeen million dollars.
Dennis Quaid told Larry King that he turned down the part in "Big" because he wanted to do Everybody's All-American (1988).
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 workers of the agency. The location fee of 25,000 dollars was donated to the American Craft Museum by the agency and 20th Century Fox.
The script was first developed in 1984.
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).
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.
A comic book adaptation was released by Hit Comics in 1988.
John Landis was considered to direct this movie. But Landis turned it down due to him directing Coming to America (1988).
The tune Josh and MacMillan play on the piano is "Heart and Soul" by Hoagy Carmichael.
Gary Busey auditioned for the Josh Baskin role.
Steve Guttenberg was considered for Josh Baskin.
Albert Brooks turned down the role of Josh Baskin.
When Josh is watching television alone in his room, Gene Hackman can be seen. The movie is The French Connection (1971).
Bill Murray, Judge Reinhold, and Michael Keaton were considered for the role of Josh Baskin.
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In the party scene, Josh tries caviar, which he hates. He spits it out and wipes his tongue with a napkin. In You've Got Mail (1998), Tom Hanks ironically responds to Meg Ryan's comment "that caviar is a garnish!" by scooping up all the remaining caviar for himself.
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.
Barry Sonnenfeld worked as Director of Photography on this movie. During the sleepover scene, where Josh shows Susan his New York City 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.
Tracy Reiner, Jon Lovitz, and Tom Hanks would go on to appear in A League of Their Own (1992), also directed by Penny Marshall.
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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.
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.
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.
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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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 mother. Ruehl is only eight years older than Tom Hanks (older Josh).
In the revised script, Susan wore no bra in the love scene between Josh and Susan.
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This is one of a couple PG rated movies that was released in the '80s that had a character say the "f word" and have it be uncensored. The other was National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
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Big (1988) is the first film on which Tom Hanks has worked with composer Howard Shore. The other films are Philadelphia (1993) and That Thing You Do! (1996). As well as starring in the latter film, this was also Hanks's directorial debut.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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When Josh and Paul are playing racquetball, there is a yellow Penske truck in the background that moves in and out of the shots.
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During the 1980s, Jared Rushton (Billy) had appeared in a "Barbie and the Rockers" television commercial. In this film, Josh (Tom Hanks) works at McMillan's toy company.
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Robert De Niro and Robin Williams, both whom had been in line to play Josh Baskin, co-starred in Awakenings (1990), also directed by Penny Marshall.
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Robin Williams whom was considered for Josh Baskin later starred in Jack (1996) which he stars as a 10 year old boy in a 40 year old's body due to being diagnosed with Werner Syndrome.
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Jeff Bridges turned down the role of Josh Baskin. Interestingly Robert Loggia played MacMillan. Bridges and Loggia co-starred in Jagged Edge (1985).
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In the revised script, John Heard's character was called Brad, not Paul.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The costume designers of the movie took special care to ensure that Susan 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 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, and shoes from heels to flats), and 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 twelve year-old boy again, the wind starts to blow.
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In Josh's "Cavern of the Evil Wizard" role-play computer game, which he is seen playing at the start of the film, the game lets Josh decide what to melt the wizard with is a strong foreshadowing of the scene which Josh walks out of the meeting at MacMillan's Toys when he and Susan discuss their proposal for a electronic comic book which allows the reader to decide where the story goes when they turn the page and that "The kid makes his own decision" which Josh walks out and leave and goes to the Zoltar machine to make a wish to be a kid again, hence Josh making his decision.
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