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Jemal Countess/Getty Images

16 Movies That Almost Starred Tom Hanks

Jemal Countess/Getty Images
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Tom Hanks—who turns 61 years old today—is one of the most accomplished actors on the planet, with two Academy Awards for Best Actor. He’s also known as being one of the nicest human beings in show business (definitely not someone who would pocket your student ID). As you can imagine, Hanks’ services are requested often, but even a benevolent soul like Hanks cannot say "yes" to every single movie he's offered. In honor of his birthday, we're looking back at some of Hanks' lost roles.

1. GET CRAZY (1983)

It was very early in the actor's movie career, yet director Allan Arkush knew that he wanted Tom Hanks as his lead Neil Allen. Instead, studio executive Herb Solow insisted on Daniel Stern. According to Arkush, Solow also nixed the casting of Mariska Hargitay and Jerry Orbach.

2. POLICE ACADEMY (1984)

In 2005, Police Academy creator Paul Maslansky claimed that the producers’ wish list for Mahoney read, in no particular order: Michael Keaton, Tom Hanks, and Judge Reinhold. Steven Guttenberg ended up with the part.

3. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (1989)

Director Rob Reiner talked to Hanks about playing Harry, as well as Albert Brooks, Richard Dreyfuss, and Michael Keaton. Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal had immediate chemistry, and the rest is cinema (and delicatessen) history.

4. SUPER MARIO BROS. (1993)

According to Jeff Ryan’s book Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America, Hanks was hired to play Mario before he was fired for Bob Hoskins, who was asking for less money anyway. Hanks won his Oscars in the movies Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, which came out the same year and the year after as Super Mario Bros., a film that was universally panned and Hoskins later called his biggest disappointment in life.

5. GROUNDHOG DAY (1993)

Director Harold Ramis admitted in a 2009 Q&A that he initially wanted Hanks to play Phil Connors. Hanks later told Ramis he made the right choice in Bill Murray, saying, "Audiences would have been sitting there waiting for me to become nice, because I always play nice. But Bill’s such a miserable S.O.B. on- and offscreen, you didn’t know what was going to happen."

6. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)

Hanks, Kevin Costner, and Tom Cruise passed on Andy Dufresne before Tim Robbins got the role of a lifetime.

7. WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN (1994)

Tom Hanks was originally set to play Michael Green, until the first director rewrote Al Franken and Ronald Bass’ darkly comedic script about codependency. After a couple of years, director Luis Mandoki came on board and fixed the script with Franken and Bass. Hanks had moved on by then, and Andy Garcia took the gig instead.

8. SPEED (1994)

Screenwriter Graham Yost recalled that the studio went to Hanks and Cruise first, then Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, and others before Keanu Reeves’ name was ever brought up to potentially play Jack.

9. NIXON (1995)

Hanks had been set to play the 37th President of the United States in The Passion of Richard Nixon, a project that never saw the light of day. Knowing this, Oliver Stone approached Hanks about playing Nixon in his Tricky Dick movie instead. Anthony Hopkins signed on after Hanks turned Stone down.

10. JERRY MAGUIRE (1996)

Cameron Crowe wrote the movie with Hanks in mind as the protagonist. Hanks was busy directing his movie That Thing You Do!. He later told Crowe the movie was perfect with Cruise as the lead.

11. STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT (1996)

Hanks also missed out on playing Zefram Cochrane as a result of being too busy working on That Thing You Do!. This pass might have hurt more, since Hanks is a huge Star Trek fan, and had already expressed regret two years earlier that he didn’t have time appear in a Star Trek: Next Generation episode or Star Trek movie.

12. PRIMARY COLORS (1998)

Hanks initially agreed to play the lead in the Mike Nichols-directed adaptation of the book known to be about Bill Clinton’s first successful presidential campaign, until he realized he was too busy. The media alleged Hanks backed out because of his friendship with Clinton, and had to deny that was the case. In fact, Hanks claimed Clinton told him he had his blessing to take the role. John Travolta got the honor instead.

13. THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION (2001)

Woody Allen alleged that both Hanks and Jack Nicholson turned down the lead in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, possibly because they weren’t offered enough money.

14. KINSEY (2004)

According to E! Online columnist Anderson Jones, Hanks was among a group of A-list actors who “flirted” with the part of Kinsey. Liam Neeson ended up playing the controversial sexologist.

15. SHOPGIRL (2005)

Steve Martin approached Hanks to play Ray. Hanks was too busy, so Martin took the role he had written himself.

16. DINO

Martin Scorsese co-wrote the screenplay and was set to direct a Dean Martin biopic, with Hanks playing the singer/comedian. Scorsese had planned to make it after Gangs of New York, but it never got made.

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6 Times There Were Ties at the Oscars
getty images (March and Beery)/ istock (oscar)
getty images (March and Beery)/ istock (oscar)

Only six ties have ever occurred during the Academy Awards' near-90-year history. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) members vote for nominees in their corresponding categories; here are the six times they have come to a split decision.

1. BEST ACTOR // 1932

Back in 1932, at the fifth annual Oscars ceremony, the voting rules were different than they are today. If a nominee received an achievement that came within three votes of the winner, then that achievement (or person) would also receive an award. Actor Fredric March had one more vote than competitor Wallace Beery, but because the votes were so close, the Academy honored both of them. (They beat the category’s only other nominee, Alfred Lunt.) March won for his performance in horror film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (female writer Frances Marion won Best Screenplay for the film), and Beery won for The Champ, which was remade in 1979 with Ricky Schroder and Jon Voight. Both Beery and March were previous nominees: Beery was nominated for The Big House and March for The Royal Family of Broadway. March won another Oscar in 1947 for The Best Years of Our Lives, also a Best Picture winner. Fun fact: March was the first actor to win an Oscar for a horror film.

2. BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT // 1950

By 1950, the above rule had been changed, but there was still a tie at that year's Oscars. A Chance to Live, an 18-minute movie directed by James L. Shute, tied with animated film So Much for So Little. Shute’s film was a part of Time Inc.’s "The March of Time" newsreel series and chronicles Monsignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing putting together a Boys’ Home in Italy. Directed by Bugs Bunny’s Chuck Jones, So Much for So Little was a 10-minute animated film about America’s troubling healthcare situation. The films were up against two other movies: a French film named 1848—about the French Revolution of 1848—and a Canadian film entitled The Rising Tide.

3. BEST ACTRESS // 1969

Probably the best-known Oscars tie, this was the second and last time an acting award was split. When presenter Ingrid Bergman opened up the envelope, she discovered a tie between newcomer Barbra Streisand and two-time Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn—both received 3030 votes. Streisand, who was 26 years old, tied with the 61-year-old The Lion in Winter star, who had already been nominated 10 times in her lengthy career, and won the Best Actress Oscar the previous year for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Hepburn was not in attendance, so all eyes fell on Funny Girl winner Streisand, who wore a revealing, sequined bell-bottomed-pantsuit and gave an inspired speech. “Hello, gorgeous,” she famously said to the statuette, echoing her first line in Funny Girl.

A few years earlier, Babs had received a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Fanny Brice in the Broadway musical Funny Girl, but didn’t win. At this point in her career, she was a Grammy-winning singer, but Funny Girl was her movie debut (and what a debut it was). In 1974, Streisand was nominated again for The Way We Were, and won again in 1977 for her and Paul Williams’s song “Evergreen,” from A Star is Born. Four-time Oscar winner Hepburn won her final Oscar in 1982 for On Golden Pond.

4. BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE // 1987

The March 30, 1987 telecast made history with yet another documentary tie, this time for Documentary Feature. Oprah presented the awards to Brigitte Berman’s film about clarinetist Artie Shaw, Artie Shaw: Time is All You’ve Got, and to Down and Out in America, a film about widespread American poverty in the ‘80s. Former Oscar winner Lee Grant (who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1976 for Shampoo) directed Down and Out and won the award for producers Joseph Feury and Milton Justice. “This is for the people who are still down and out in America,” Grant said in her acceptance speech.

5. BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION) // 1995

More than 20 years ago—the same year Tom Hanks won for Forrest Gump—the Short Film (Live Action) category saw a tie between two disparate films: the 23-minute British comedy Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life, and the LGBTQ youth film Trevor. Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi wrote and directed the former, which stars Richard E. Grant (Girls, Withnail & I) as Kafka. The BBC Scotland film envisions Kafka stumbling through writing The Metamorphosis.

Trevor is a dramatic film about a gay 13-year-old boy who attempts suicide. Written by James Lecesne and directed by Peggy Rajski, the film inspired the creation of The Trevor Project to help gay youths in crisis. “We made our film for anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider,” Rajski said in her acceptance speech, which came after Capaldi's. “It celebrates all those who make it through difficult times and mourns those who didn’t.” It was yet another short film ahead of its time.

6. BEST SOUND EDITING // 2013

The latest Oscar tie happened only three years ago, when Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall beat Argo, Django Unchained, and Life of Pi in sound editing. Mark Wahlberg and his animated co-star Ted presented the award to Zero Dark Thirty’s Paul N.J. Ottosson and Skyfall’s Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers. “No B.S., we have a tie,” Wahlberg said to the crowd, assuring them he wasn’t kidding. Ottosson was announced first and gave his speech before Hallberg and Baker Landers found out that they were the other victors.

It wasn’t any of the winners' first trip to the rodeo: Ottosson won two in 2010 for his previous collaboration with Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker (Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Sound Mixing); Hallberg previously won an Oscar for Best Sound Effects Editing for Braveheart in 1996, and in 2008 both Hallberg and Baker Landers won Best Achievement in Sound Editing for The Bourne Ultimatum.

Ottosson told The Hollywood Reporter he possibly predicted his win: “Just before our category came up another fellow nominee sat next to me and I said, ‘What if there’s a tie, what would they do?’ and then we got a tie,” Ottosson said. Hallberg also commented to the Reporter on his win. “Any time that you get involved in some kind of history making, that would be good.”

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Mister Rogers Is Now a Funko Pop! and It’s Such a Good Feeling, a Very Good Feeling
Amazon
Amazon

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood for fans of Mister Rogers, as Funko has announced that, just in time for the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the kindest soul to ever grace a television screen will be honored with a series of Funko toys, some of them limited-edition versions.

The news broke at the New York Toy Fair, where the pop culture-loving toy company revealed a new Pop Funko! in Fred Rogers’s likeness—he’ll be holding onto the Neighborhood Trolley—plus a Mister Rogers Pop! keychain and a SuperCute Plush.

In addition to the standard Pop! figurine, there will also be a Funko Shop exclusive version, in which everyone’s favorite neighbor will be wearing a special blue sweater. Barnes & Noble will also carry its own special edition, which will see Fred wearing a red cardigan and holding a King Friday puppet instead of the Neighborhood Trolley.

 

Barnes & Noble's special edition Mister Rogers Funko Pop!
Funko

Mister Rogers’s seemingly endless supply of colored cardigans was an integral part of the show, and a sweet tribute to his mom (who knitted all of them). But don’t go running out to snatch up the whole collection just yet; Funko won’t release these sure-to-sell-out items until June 1, but you can pre-order your Pop! on Amazon right now.

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