1. - Judge Reinhold, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, 1981. In the battle (with Matthew Broderick, Ralph Macchio and Sean Penn) for Brad Hamilton in Cameron Crowe’s classic scenario. (Penn won the lead - the surfer dude, Jeff Spicoli).
2. - Daniel Stern, Get Crazy, 1983. “Every role, there was an argument” -director Allan Arkush on his third movie.“Roger Cormanactually talked me into Daniel Stern in the lead instead of Tom Hanks… who was hilarious.I think he’d only done Bosom Buddies at that point. So it was one stupid decision after another.”
3. - Tom Cruise, Risky Business, 1983. OK, so how’s the other Tom in his undershorts?
4. - Steve Guttenberg, Police Academy, 1984. Hanks was obviously up for Mahoney (“Sleeping is for fags”) as the comedy as Neal Israel also penned Tom’s breakthrough, Bachelor Party, 1982. But, inexplicably, Michael Keaton, Judge Reinhold and Bruce Willis were also turned down for the baby cop. They were upset… until seeing how each of the next six of these Carry On Cops was worse than the one before. Guttenberg even threw away his badge after three more. Maybe to appease his father - an NYPD officer.
5. - John Candy, Splash, 1984. “I thought of him first as Freddie,” admitted actor-turned director Ron Howard. “"He also read for Allen. Perfect!”Even better when leaping together into space for Apollo 13, 1995, andHBO’s brilliant series, From the Earth to the Moon, 1998.
6. - Jack Nicholson Prizzi’s Honour, 1984. ”Do I ice her? Do I marry her?” Conundrum for Charley Partanna, hit-man for the Prizzi Family, when he falls for a fellow contractor: Kathleen Turner. John Huston had ten other Charley notions, each as mad as the other. Italians Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, even John Travolta made more sense than, say, Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Bill Murray, Ryan O’Neal, Christopher Reeve (!), Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight. Of course, Nicholson was the unlikeliest Brooklyn Mafioso since the Corleones’ James Caan, but terrific. Because Huston kept reminding him: “Remember, he’s stupid!”
7. - Tom Cruise, Top Gun, 1985. Refused the US Navy pilot ace called Maverick. So did:Matthew Broderick, Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Emilio Estevez, Michael J Fox, Matthew Modine, Sean Penn, Patrick Swayze.
8. - Eugene Levy, Armed and Dangerous, 1986. Due as his first filmwith Meg Ryan (instead of Joe Versus The Volcano, 1990). When Tom could not be Norman,co-star John Candy suggested a fellow veteran from SCTV, Canada’s Second City TV, far removed from the Hanks image.Levy became the dad of five American Pie farces and a Christopher Guest and Steve Martin stalwart.
9. - Michael Douglas, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
10 - Kevin Costner, Fields of Dreams, 1988. "If you build it, he will come." Hanks didn’t and Costner made it a classic. (Among the extras were… Ben Affleck and Matt Damon). Hanks' baseball moment was A League Of Their Own, 1991.
11 - Michael Keaton, Clean and Sober, 1989. Keaton had scored four successive flops, so Warners was shocked when first-time film-maker Glenn Gordon Caron (creator of TV's Moonlighting) refused Tom - who, befitting his Jack Lemmon II image, wanted his own Days of Wine and Roses. Five years earlier, Tom beat Michael to Splash.
12 - Billy Crystal, When Harry Met Sally... 1989. Director Rob Reiner considered (again) Tom and Michael Keaton, before batting for his pal.Tom andSally (Meg Ryan) were later Sleepless In Seattle, 1993.
13 - Patrick Swayze, Ghost, 1990. Dating a mermaid was fine, but playing a ghost... Get outa here!
14 - John Heard, Home Alone, 1990. An astonishing 37 stars (Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, etc) were considered for the forgetful parents - nothing roles in a film written for and duly stolen by the stranded kid, Macauley Culkin.
15 - Robin Williams, Hook, 1990. Also onhis pal Steven Spielberg’s (very) short list for his updated Peter Pan - when Kevin Kline was trapped in the major re-vamping of Soapdish. (Didn’t help).
16 - Johnny Depp, Edward Scissorhands, 1991. Maybe too close to Big, but it would have served him better than his roasting upon the Bonfire of the Vanities. Rarely had an American film been so aptly named.
17 - Robert De Niro, Night and the City, 1991. De Niro passed Big to Hanks and was not about to repeat the error.When Tom parachuted after a year musing on re-hashing Jules Dassin”s 1950 noir classic,De Niro grabbed it - with hisusual producer and Guilty By Suspicion director Irwin Winkler. Hardly worth bothering.
* “I'll die to do this... wait for me, wait for me.” That's Tom Hanks to scenarist Richard Price... “So we waited for him for a year and a half. And then he said... I'm not doing it!”
18 - Robin Williams, Hook, 1991. Spielberg’s (obvious) first thought for Peter Banning, aka the grown up Peter Pan.
18 - Michael Douglas, Basic Instinct, 1991.
20 - Nicolas Cage, Honeymoon In Las Vegas, 1992. Difficult toimagine Tom as a sky-diving Elvis clone.
21 - Bruce Willis, Death Becomes Her, 1992. After Kevin Kline declined, director Robert Zemeckis still sought off-beat casting to match Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn.
22 - Nick Nolte, I'll Do Anything, 1993. Studio said Hanks, James L Brooks said Nolte. Result: A no win situation, particularly whenBrooks cut all the songs from his... musical.
23 - Bill Murray, Groundhog Day, 1992. Hanks was always director Harold Ramis’ best bet until realising...“He’s just too nice.” Likewise Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and John Travolta. That says it all about Murray!
24 - Johnny Depp, Benny & Joon, 1993. MGM’s first pairing for the romantic odd couple: Hanks-Julia Roberts.Next? Tim Robbins-Susan Sarandon. Next? Johnny Depp-Laura Dern. Close enough.It was Johnny and Mary Stuart Masterson.
25 - Tim Robbins, The Shawshank Redemption, 1993. Instead of being prisoner #37927, he became a prison warder in director Frank Darabont’s next Stephen King adaptation, The Green Mile, 1999. Also up for #37927: Jeff Bridges, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Charlie Sheen. And t’other Tom - Cruise.
26 - Keanu Reeves, Speed, 1993. There were times when Hollywood didn’t quite know what to do with Tom. Other surprise bus-driversran the more usual gamut from Tom Cruise to Bruce Willis
27 - Andy Garcia, When A Man Loves A Woman, 1994. Hanks and Debra Winger. That was Alan J Pakula’s thinking. Ironically, the alcoholic wife went to Hank's perennial partner, Meg Ryan - the 90s Doris Day. Until she met Rusell Crowe...
28 - Val Kilmer, Batman Forever, 1994.
29 - Tom Cruise, Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, 1994.
29 - Anthony Hopkins, Nixon, 1995.
The first successive Oscar-winner since Spencer Tracy in the 30s was an obvious choice for everything in town… Except he was disinterested. (So were Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson). Later candidates included Hanks, Robin Williams - and poor John Malkovich, stilling chewing over the script when the Welsh outsider was selected by auteur Oliver Stone - because of his Remains of the Day sadness; his Shadowlands warmth and emotion. “He’s a Shakesperean actor, he can play anything.” Next time around, Dan Heyda (Stone’s choice for Trini Cordoza) played Nixon in Dick, 1998.
30 - Michael Keaton, Speechless, 1995. Still rivals after all these yeas, Keaton won what Hanks wanted, More beef from his producer and co-star: Geena Davies.
31 - Robin Williams, Jumanji, 1995. First choice for Alan Parrish - suddenly unleashed by two kids finding a magical board game where he had been trapped since playing it as a tot. Before Williams signed on, Dan Aykroyd, Sean Connery, Richard Dreyfuss, Rupert Everett, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, Kevin Kline, Bill Paxton, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger had all had all fled the incoherent script. Jumanji, incidentally, is Zulu for “many effects.” And how.
32 - Bill Paxton, Twister, 1996. Flying to Houston for Apollo 13 scenes, Paxton asked Hanks if he'd been reading anything good lately. “Yeah,” he said, “this great thing called Twister. I'm not right for it - you'd be perfect.” And then he told his pal Steven Spielberg the same.
33 - Geg Kinnear, Dear God, 1996. Robin Williams refused it - after hearing Tom had turned it down, allowing the NBC talk-show star an Oscar-nominated follow-up to his debut in the awful Sabrina re-tread, 1995.
34 - Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire, 1996. Super-Tom One was committed tohishelming debut, The Thing That You Do, 1996. Super-Tom Two said: “I may not be right for this but let me just read for you.”And Super-Tom-One added: “It couldn’t have been anyone but Cruise.”
35 - James Cromwell, Star Trek: First Contact, 1996. Only known to his wife and people like Patrick Stewart and William Shatner, Tom Hanks is a major Trekkie. Consequently, he agreed to be Dr Zefram Cochrane - until it clashed with his other major ambition. To direct. Which, of course, is when someone should have said: Why not direct First Contact for us?
36 - Paul McGann, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.
37 - Woody Harrelson, The People v Larry Flynt, 1996. Tom Hanks as a pornographer?! Milos Forman was also much interested in Bill Murray. Not vice-versa!
38 - Kevin Costner, The Postman, 1996. Aka Brave New World Meets Raiders... In 1994, before their Apollo 13, Warners tried interesting director Ron Howard and his pal, Hanks, in an original script from Forrest Gump’s Eric Roth. About a guy raising the spirits of post-apocalyptic America by working as a postman. (You heard!).
39 - Robin Williams, Jack, 1996. Because of Big, 1988. Tom was Francis Coppola’s first choice for the boy ageing four times faster than normal (looking like 40 in first grade). Big was, of course,exactly the reason why Tomrefused. He’d been there and got the tote-bag. already!
40 - Kevin Costner, The Postman, 1996. Once upon a time,Ron Howard was due to direct his pal as the saviour of the decimated,post-apocalyptic 2013.
41 - John Travolta, Primary Colors, 1998. Voted against the Slick Willy-esque presidential candidate because of his friendship with then-President Clinton (Slick Willy, himself)- who enjoyed the film so much that he even invited Travolta to a party. On condition, hecame as Governor Jack Stanton.Travolta declined.
42 - Kevin Spacey, American Beauty, 1998.
The suits said No to Spacey. “They wanted a more conventional leading man,” said director Sam Mendes, “and they felt he was a supporting actor.” Therefore, Chevy Chase, Kevin Costner, Jeff Daniels, Woody Harrelson (!), John Travolta and Bruce Willis fell in the mix for the miserable spouse/father, Lester Burnham. “There’s one thing better than having a really good actor,” said Mendes, “and that's having a really good actor who has never done this kind of role before. I really didn’t want anyone else from the beginning, and I stuck to my guns.” HeMendes got Spacey. And they both got Oscars. For Hanks, not even making the next Mendes gig: Road To Perdition, 2002, made up for his loss… Fair’s fair, felt Spacey. “He got to play the great congressman Charlie Wilson [in Charlie Wilson’s War], which was a part I definitely wanted to play, so we’re even.”
43 - Dabbs Greer, The Green Mile, 1998. Make-up tests did not age Hanks well enough to also play the older version of his Paul Edgecomb role. Enter: Greer, elderly enough at 81. And fondly remembered as the Reverend Alden in 777 episodes of Little House on the Prairie, 1974-1983. His minister married the Ingalls girls and Rob and Laura Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show… and the parents of The Brady Bunch!
44 - Robin Williams, Bicentennial Man, 1999. German director Wolfgang Petersen had workedwith TomHanks on how to have Isaac Asimov’s robot turn human - beforeTom passed it, alas, tothe Mrs Doubtfire team of Chris Columbus and Robin.
45 - Woody Allen, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, 2001. Hanks said: No thanks. Too busyto be the obsessive-compulsive insurance investigatorCW Briggs.
46 - Nicolas Cage, Adaptation, 2002. The role(s)? The wizard Being John Malkovich scenarist Charlie Kaufman - with writer's block. And as his twin - without.
47 - Jude Law, Cold Mountain, 2002. Rather too old for the young wounded confederate soldier,Inman, tries to returnto his North Carolina mountain and his gal, Nicole Kidman. Anyway, how could Miramax hope to afford him?
48 - Richard Gere, Shall We Dance, 2004. Miramax calling again... There-make of the 1996 Japanese hit proved harmless, charmless.Like mostre-makes.
49 - Steve Martin, Shopgirl, 2005. Tomwas the first idea of Steve Martin until he felt (surprise, surprise!)better suited for Ray Porter. Martinhad, after all, created himinhis novel andnow the movie.
50 - Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt, 2007. John Cusack and David Hayden Pierce were also short-listed for Father Flynn, accused by Meryl Streep’s dragon of a nun of sexually abusing an altar boy. As with his 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play, auteur John Patrick Shanley told Hoffman whether or not the parish priest was guilty as charged. And no one else.
51- Russell Crowe, State of Play, 2008. Or, State of Delay as Brad Pitt called itafter being stalled so long on it. Whenhe finally walked,the role of journalistCal McAffrey was offered to Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, TomHanks,Crowe took over - after discussing the film with Ridley Scot... oneof the few directors never attached to it.
52 - Taylor Kitsch, John Carter, 2010. A decade or so earlier, both Toms - Cruise and Hanks - were up for Disney’s version of Princess of Mars - first ofTarzan’s daddy, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ eleven books about a Civil War veteran rediscovering his humanity when dealing with warring races on planet Barsoom... Burroughs’s name for Mars in 1911
53 - Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables, 2011. Oh, Hollywood… Since the musical’s 1985 London opening, suggestions for Jean Valjean went from the logical - Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss, Gene Hackman, William Hurt, Kevin Kline - to the preposterous: Hanks, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Robert Redford, Christopher Walken. Plus close pals, rarely rivals, Beatty and Jack Nicholson. However, Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino were far too short for the hefty hero who, in a signature scene, has to carry Cosette’s lover, away from the battle of the barricades. Put it another say, Hollywood’s last Valjean had been Liam Neeson - 6ft. 4in.
55 - George Clooney, Gravity, 2013. Hanks loves astronauts, right…? When Robert Downey Jr ejected from the science fiction marvel (“technology and Robert are incompatible explained Alfonso Cuaron), the Mexican auteur talked “with a bunch of people” for astronaut Matt Kowalski - Kevin Costner, Daniel Craig, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis. Most backed off, annoyed that the woman astronaut, Sandra Bullock, had most of the film entirely to herself. “More like 2001 than an action film,” said a delighted Clooney.