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.

The 8 Best Horror Movies to Stream on Hulu Right Now

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Looking for a good scare this Halloween season? If you’re a Hulu subscriber, you’ll be able to get your fill of creepy content. Check out eight of the best horror movies currently streaming on the service.

1. Hellraiser (1987)

Horror author Clive Barker made the move to feature directing with this tale of a man (Sean Chapman) who makes the grievous error of opening a portal to hell and proceeds to make his brother’s family targets of the sadistic Cenobites, led by Pinhead (Doug Bradley). Don’t bother with the endless sequels; the original is the best (and goriest) of the lot.

2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Paranoia runs deep in this remake of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). In the ‘70s iteration, Donald Sutherland plays a health inspector who can’t shake the feeling that people around him seem a little off. He soon grows wise to the reality that aliens are walking among us as virtual human replicas. Naturally, they’re not keen on being discovered.

3. A Quiet Place (2018)

John Krasinski and Emily Blunt star as a couple living in a world terrorized by creatures that hunt by sound. Their largely-silent existence means every stray creak, cry, or noise threatens to expose them to the monsters—a danger that's only compounded when Blunt discovers she’s pregnant.

4. The Orphanage (2007)

A sense of dread looms over The Orphanage, a Spanish-language thriller with Belén Rueda as Laura, who returns to the child care facility that raised her so she can make a difference for a new generation of children. Strange things begin as soon as she arrives, with her son going missing and hints of unwelcome guests unraveling her nerves. It’s a film best not watched alone.

5. Event Horizon (1997)

If 1979’s Alien stirred your interest in space scares, Event Horizon might make for a worthwhile watch. After a spaceship presumed lost suddenly reappears, a crew of investigators (Sam Neill, Laurence Fishburne) board to find answers.

6. Children of the Corn (1984)

A couple (Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton) passing through a small rural town find a lack of adult supervision curious—until the kids reveal themselves to be homicidal cult members. Based on a Stephen King short story.

7. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)

Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi perfected “splatstick” horror in this cult classic about hapless boob Ash (Campbell) who escapes to a remote cabin retreat with girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) and unwittingly unleashes a cascade of evil. Though it’s more amusing than scary, Raimi’s inventive imagery is morbidly fascinating.

8. Child’s Play (1988)

Good mom Catherine Hicks buys a Good Guys doll for her son, Andy. Unfortunately, the doll—dubbed Chucky—has been possessed by the spirit of a serial killer (Brad Dourif) and proceeds to make young Andy’s life miserable, particularly after he discovers the kitchen cutlery.

Ruined By a Letter: TV Show Edition

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