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16 Movies That Almost Starred Tom Hanks

Can you imagine if Tom Hanks had played Billy Crystal's role in 'When Harry Met Sally'?

When you add the number of blockbuster movies he’s been involved in with the fact he’s acknowledged as a really nice guy, you can see why Tom Hanks has to be one of the most popular actors of his generation.

We all know him from “Apollo 13,” “Splash,” “That Thing You Do!,” “You’ve Got Mail,” the voice of Woody in the “Toy Story” series, those Best Actor Oscar wins for “Forrest Gump” and “Philadelphia,” and many more.

According to Wikipedia, “Hanks is ranked as the fourth highest all-time box office star in North America, with a total gross of over $4.336 billion at the North American box office, an average of $100.8 million per film. Worldwide, his films have grossed over $8.586 billion.

He even has his own asteroid. Now that my friends, is the big-time.

Tom Hanks photo
Photo by Castles, Capes & Clones

Those are just a few of the movies he has starred in. What about a list of movies he didn’t take part in (for one reason or another)? Let’s review:

1. “Get Crazy”

Director Allan Arkush knew he wanted Hanks for the role, yet he was overruled and it went to Daniel Stern.

2. “Police Academy”

In 2005, “Police Academy”‘s creator Paul Maslansky said producers were interested in Michael Keaton, Tom Hanks, and Judge Reinhold for the role of Mahoney. Steven Guttenberg ended up with the part.

3. “When Harry Met Sally”

Everyone knows how terrific Billy Crystal was in this. Director Rob Reiner talked to Hanks about the gig, along with Michael Keaton, Albert Brooks and Richard Dreyfuss. Crystal and Meg Ryan hit it off, and that was that.

4. “Super Mario Bros.”

Hanks had the part. The studio decided to dump him in favor of the less-expensive Bob Hoskins. The movie didn’t do too well, for many reasons.

5. “Groundhog Day”

One of my personal favorites. I watch it every year on AMC. Director Harold Ramis said in an interview that he initially wanted Hanks, but in a quote from Mental Floss, Hanks said “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”

Hard to imagine, but Hanks, Kevin Costner, and Tom Cruise all said no to this one before Tim Robbins stepped in as Andy Dufresne. And thank goodness narrator/actor Morgan Freeman said yes.

7. “When A Man Loves A Woman”

Hanks was on board until script rewrite delays forced him to move on, and the movie signed Andy Garcia to take his place.

8. “Speed”

The studio initially sought Hanks and Cruise first, then Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson and others. Keanu Reeves ended up with the need for Speed.

9. “Nixon”

Not sure I could picture Tom Hanks as the troubled President. He had been set to portray Nixon in a play, but that never happened. Director Oliver Stone, knowing this, approached Hanks for the title role. But Hanks said “I am not a President,” so Anthony Hopkins took the part.

10. “Jerry Maguire”

Writer Cameron Crowe wrote the title character with Hanks in mind. But Tom was tied up with “That Thing You Do!” so Tom Cruise was the one to say “Show me the money.” And they did.

11. “Star Trek: First Contact”

Hanks is a huge “Star Trek” fan, but timing kept him from both guesting in the “Star Trek: Next Generation” TV series, and playing the ST:NG movie role of Zefram Cochran, who merely invented Warp Drive. (Or let’s say, he will invent it….in 2063.) James Crowell took over the part since Hanks was working on “That Thing You Do!”

12. “Primary Colors”

Hanks said OK to the role, then realized he was too busy with “Saving Private Ryan” and an HBO Apollo space series to play the part of presidential candidate Jack Stanton, AKA Bill Clinton. He backed out of the role amid charges he did so due to his friendship with Clinton. In reality, Clinton gave Hanks his OK for the role.

13. “The Curse of The Jade Scorpion”

Director Woody Allen says Hanks and Jack Nicholson both turned this movie down, possibly due to the salary. And in Hollywood, it’s always about the salary.

14. “Kinsey”

The movie about sex researcher Alfred Kinsey was rumored to have the interest of Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, Kevin Spacey and Harrison Ford according to WND.com, but Liam Neeson’s name ended up on the big screen.

15. “Shopgirl”

Steve Martin went to Hanks to ask him if he wanted to play the “Shopgirl” role of Ray. Hanks was too busy, so that wild and crazy guy took the part himself.

16. “Dino”

I thought to myself when I saw this title, “Boy, how did I miss this one?” Good reason for that. Despite Hanks being set for the title character of Dean Martin, this Scorcese movie was never made.

Happy 60th birthday (on July 9) to you, Mr. Hanks.

h/t: Mental Floss