Big: De Niro Dropped Out of Lead in Penny Marshall’s Classic Comedy–thus Facilitating Tom Hanks Rise to Major Stardom

Robert De Niro Dropped Out of the Lead in ‘Big’

The 1988 classic was directed by the late Penny Marshall and stars Tom Hanks.


De Niro opened up about his brief involvement with the film Big.

The Oscar-winning actor on Monday appeared in The Tonight Show where he was asked some true or false questions by host Jimmy Fallon.

One of the queries involved the 1988 comedy classic directed by the late Penny Marshall, ultimately starring Tom Hanks, catapulting him to major stardom and critical acclaim .

De Niro said it was true. He was cast to play Josh, the lead version of a teen who makes a wish to instantly become an adult.

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Tom Hanks in ‘Big’ (1988) EVERETT COLLECTION







“We had a thing with the negotiation, the thing, so it went the way it went,” De Niro told Fallon. “So, it’s fine.”

Among the other questions was whether he ad libbed his most iconic line in any of his films, Travis Bickle’s “Are you talkin’ to me?” in Taxi Driver.

De Niro said it was “more or less” true, adding it is certainly the line he hears the most from fans.

“Sometimes from odd places,” he explained. “I remember years ago in L.A., down in the valley, a bunch of kids pulled up next to me at a red light and say, ‘Are you talkin’ to me?’ I don’t know how they recognized me.”

Watch the full De Niro interview below.