Jeff Bridges almost played one of Tom Hanks' most famous roles

Big 20th Century Fox final
Big 20th Century Fox final

20th Century Fox

It's always interesting to imagine what a famous movie role would have been like in another actor's hands.

What about Jeff Bridges playing the Tom Hanks role in the 1988 hit comedy "Big"?

It almost happened.

When director Penny Marshall was thinking about an actor who could capture the childlike innocence of a 12-year-old who, after a wish, is suddenly turned into a 30-year-old, she talked to Bridges.

Starman 1984
Starman 1984

20th Century Fox"I remember going out for it," Bridges told Business Insider, while doing press for his new movie "Hell or High Water." "It was shortly after 'Starman' I think. I don't know how close I was to getting the part. I met with Penny Marshall and that's one that I knew would be a hit. It just felt hit-ish. But it's like you go to a store and you see a jacket and you go 'I love that jacket' and you try it on and it's too big or too small for you and it's the only one they have. For some reason that part just didn't fit me."

So eventually, after Bridges didn't quite fit, Hanks got the call.

Bridges can't recall if the decision was amicable between him and Marshall, but what he does know for sure is "Tom just knocked it out of the park."

At the the time "Big" was being made, Hanks was best known for starring in outlandish comedies like "Splash," "Bachelor Party," and "The Money Pit," so Marshall casting him in the "Big" role — which certainly has some dramatic moments — was a bit of a gamble.

But it's really hard to imagine anyone other than Hanks in the "Big" role.   

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