Tom Hanks

1. – Judge Reinhold, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, 1981. The US high school movie..! Researched and written by Cameron Crowe, directed by Amy Heckerling. In the Brad mix with Nicolas Cage, Sean Penn – and Matthew Broderick who quit when his actor-father, James Broderick, became terminally ill. It is not known, of course, if Hanks would have used a dildo (like Reinhold) in his masturbation scene – so realistic it made co-star Phoebe Cates freak out. Her reactions were genuine.

2. – Michael Nouri, Flashdance, 1982.   Potential Nick Hurleys were: Hanks, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner (runner-up to Nouri), Live Aid creator Bob Geldof, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Burt Reynolds, rocker Gene Simmons, John Travolta… plus such surprises as Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci!   At 36, Nouri was double the age of the flashdancing Jennifer Beals.

3. – Daniel Stern, Get Crazy, 1983.   “Every role, there was an argument” – director Allan Arkush on his third movie. “Roger Corman actually 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.”

4. –  Tom Cruise, Risky Business, 1983.     Hanks, Brian Backer, Ncholas Cage (still Coppola at the time) and Michael J Fox were in the Joel Goodsen loop before it came down to Taps finds Cruise or Timothy Hutton.  Tim fell out, preferring Sidney Lumet’s Daniel, so Tom was born! Backer went on to join Hanks in The Money Pit, 1985…and Cruise won Jerry Maguire after Hanks passed three years later.

5. – Bill Murray, Ghostbusters, 1983.  
The paranormal was, said Dan Aykord, his family’s business. That and having stayed in a house haunted by Mama Cass Elliott inspired his dark, futuristic update of such 40s’ comedies as Bob Hope’s Ghost Breakers and the Bowery Boys as Ghost Chasers  penned for John Belushi, Eddie Murphy and himself. Dan was actually writing a line for John when hearing about his shock death. (He said  Slimer was John‘s ghost). Murphy was busy (policing Beverly Hills !) as the script was totally respun and/or improvised. Frank Price, who famously turned down ET at Columbia, OKed the film after asking  Ivan  Reitman: How much? The director  weighed  the script in his hand. “Feels like a $25m movie to me.”   OK!  He rushed shooting for a summer  release  without every clearing the rights of the title! That belonged to Universal – and  guess who was the new boss there,  agreeing to the title being used. None other than  Frank Price! (He’d been sacked by Columbia in mid-shoot and literally picked up by Universal… to thank him  for passing on ET?)  When Chevy Chase,  Steve Guttenberg, Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, Robin Williams refused Dr Peter Venkman. “Billy” took over – as long as Columbia backed his Razor‘s Edge re-tread. It did. And it flopped. 

6. – 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.  

7. – 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, and   HBO’s brilliant series, From the Earth to the Moon, 1998.

8. – 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!”

9. – Nicolas Cage, Peggy Sue Got Married, 1985.   Director Penny Marshall talked to Tom Hanks and Sean Penn about being the bridegroom. Then, she was fired. It’s too big for a first-timer, rasped the silly suits and called up Francis Ford Coppola (see what I mean about silly suits). Way too big for such a fairy-tale. He chose his nephew. Wow, never saw that coming…

10 – Jeff Goldblum, Transylvania 6-5000, 1985.  Two tabloid hacks are sent  on a mission to Translvania. “Unearth Frankenstein – or lose your jobs.” But which pair?  The unknown Hanks (or Paul Reiser, still seven years away from Mad About You) and Peter Scolari or better known Jeff Goldblum and Jospeh Bologna? Leonard Matlin’s review got it right. “Transylvania 6-5000 stunk.”


11 – Eugene Levy, Armed and Dangerous, 1986.     Due as his first film with 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.

12 – Steve Martin, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, 1986.   Auteur John Hughes dreamed of Hanks (or Rick Moranis) and John Travolta  as The Odd Couple  travellers based on Hughes taking five days to get home when his New York-Chicago flight wound up in Wichita, Kansas.  Their plane was played by the the one in Airplane!  Film is one of  critic Roger Ebert’s “great movies.” 

13 – Michael Douglas, Fatal Attraction, 1987.

14 – Michael Keaton, Batman, 1988.

15 – 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).

16 – 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.

17 – Billy Crystal, When Harry Met Sally… 1989.      Director Rob Reiner considered (again) Tom and Michael Keaton, before batting for his pal.   Tom and Sally (Meg Ryan) were later Sleepless In Seattle, 1993.

18 – Patrick Swayze, Ghost, 1990.    Dating a mermaid was fine, but playing a ghost… Get outa here!  Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise – said much the same.  Plus Bruce Willis – and Mrs Bruce, Demi Moore, was the leading lady!

19  – John Heard, Home Alone, 1990.  For the zero roles of Macauley Culkin’s forgetful parents (in a film written for and duly stolen by him), an astonishing 66 stars were considered – including 32 later seen for the hot lovers in Basic Instinct:Kim Basinger, Stockard Channing, Glenn Close, Kevin Costner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Douglas, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Marilu Henner, Anjelica Huston, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Christopher Lloyd, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Annie Potts, Kelly Preston, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, John Travolta.   Other potential Pops were Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jeff Daniels, Tony Danza, John Goodman, Charles Grodin, Tom Hanks, Robert Hays, Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Bill Murray, Ed O’Neill, John Ritter, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Skerritt, Robin Williams… and the inevitable unknowns: Broadway’s Mark Linn-Baker, Canadian musicians-comics  Alan Thicke (“the affordable William Shatner”) and Dave Thomas.

20 – Billy Crystal, City Slickers, 1990. Facing 40, three Manhattan dudes book into a dude ranch and join a cattle drive and… a perfect comedy!  Nicolas Cage, Kevin Costner, Michael J. Fox Tom Hanks, Mike Myers, Dennis Quaid were the outsiders for  Mitch – won by Crystal, who worked on the script without credit. Robin Williams was offered offered his choice of the trio but was Hook-ed by Steven Spielberg. Chicago critic Roger Ebert noted: “So many ways this movie could have gone wrong… that it’s sort of astonishing, how many ways it finds to go right.”


21 – Robin Williams, Hook, 1990.    Also on his pal Steven Spielberg’s (very) short list for his updated, grown up Peter Pan – when Kevin Kline was trapped in the major re-vamping of Soapdish. (Didn’t help). 

22 – Tim Robbins, Jacob’s Ladder, 1990.   Here’s the reason Bonfire of the Vanities was so bad….   Because Brian De Palma directed it and not Adrian Lyne. He passed in order to make this film with Tom Hanks. Except, Hanks was picked by De Palma for Bonfire, although being eminently more suitable for what crtitic Roger Ebert praised for evoking “a paranoid-schizophrenic state as effectively as any film I have ever seen.”

23 – 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. 

24 – 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 his usual producer and Guilty By Suspicion director Irwin Winkler. Hardly worth bothering.


  (Clic to enlarge)  

* “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!”



25 – Michael Douglas, Basic Instinct, 1991.

26 – Nicolas Cage, Honeymoon In Las Vegas, 1992.     Difficult to imagine Tom as a sky-diving Elvis clone.

27 – Emilio Estevez, The Mighty Ducks (UK:Champions),  1992.  From January 22 to April  11 to be precise.  With Estevez beating  bro’ Charlie Sheen, plus Tom Cruise, Michael J Fox, Tom Hanks,  the way too old Bill Murray and even the scenarist  Steve Brill, himself,  to  the seen-it-all-before sports movie. The one, said Chicago critic Roger Ebert,  “about the misfit coach who is handed a team of kids who are losers, and turns them into winners while redeeming himself.”

28 – John Leguizamo, Super Mario Brothers, 1992.   Disney saw Cheech Marin (of Cheech and…) and Hanks are the, Mario Martio and Lugi Mario. Cheech chonged out and, due to the failures of Turner & Hoochand Joe Versus the Volcano, Disney ruled that Hanks was notrf a box-office star. When it was video-game’s Brooklyn plumbers who were not not box-office – or not in this lousy version. No wonder Disney had to buy other companies to make global hits for them.

29 – Bill Murray, Groundhog Day, 1992.   For the acerbic TV weatherman suddenly reliving February 2 over and over again until he gets it right, director Harold Ramis had several ideas, Except they were “far too nice” compared to Murray… in his finest work. “Before he makes the film wonderful,” said Chicago critic Rogert Ebert, “he does a more difficult thing, which is to make it bearable. I can imagine a long list of actors, whose names I will charitably suppress, who could… render it simpering, or inane.” They would have included the nice Hanks, Chevy Chase, Michael Keaton, John Travolta.

30 – 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.


31 – Robert Downey Jr, Chaplin,1992.  Peter Sellers’ dream role for decades…  The studio wanted to play safe: Billy Crystal or Robin Williams.  UK director Richard Attenborough had even more  bizzare ideas for his biopic: Jeff Bridges, Jim Carrey, John Cusack, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Kevin Kline (he became Douglas Fairbanks Jr). Plus Nick Nolte as the older Charlie. And one Brit only, the West End stage star Anthony Sher. Oh, and inexplicably, Nicolas Cage!!??? The first time she saw Downey dressed up on-set, Geraldine Chaplin (playing her paternal grandmother Hannah Chaplin) was so choked up she could scarcely breathe.

32 – Nick Nolte, I’ll Do Anything, 1993.      Studio said Hanks, James L Brooks said Nolte. Result: A no win situation, particularly when Brooks cut all the songs from his… musical.

33 – 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.

34 – Tim Robbins, The Shawshank Redemption, 1993.     Forrest Gump kept Hanks out of jail..!  Charlie Sheen basically offered to make it for free! But Jeff Bridges, Matthew Broderick, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Costner (drowning in Waterworld), Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp were in the loop for clever Andy Dufresne – the jailed banker once handled the finances of Kurt Dussander, according to Apt Pupil, another of the filmed short stories from Stephen King’s 1982 collection, Different Seasons.  The title baffled the public (until smashed DVD records). It had been Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, and director Frank Darabont was swamped by agents touting their glamour pusses to play Rita… in the 43rd of King’s staggering 313 screen credit. Hanks made sure he was free for the next (great) King/Darabont union, The Green Mile, 1998.

35 – Keanu Reeves, Speed, 1993. There were 30 stars queuing for Die Hard On A Bus. From A Listers Jeff Bridges, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, even Mr Die Hard, himself, Bruce Willis… to the B group: Kevin Bacon, three Baldwin brothers (Alec, Stephen and William), Michael Biehn, Bruce Campbell, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Keaton, Christophe(r) Lambert, Viggo Mortensen, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, Tom Selleck… and two also-rans Bruce Campbell and Chuck Norris. All crushed by a whippersnapper!

36 –  Michael Keaton, The Paper, 1993.    For another of his tepid movies, director Ron Howard mused over Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Costner, Mel Gibson, Bill Paxton, Kurt Russell, John Travolta andRobin Williams forHenry Hackett, the New York Sun‘s metro editor…  who tells his editor-in-chief (a superb Robert Duvall – is there any other kind?): “Every day I’m behind from the minute I get up.” 

37 – Tim Allen, The Santa Clause, 1994.  The guy who accidentally kills Santa (it was shoots him, but Disney wasn’t having that) and take over his duties was penned for for Bill Murray. “Not my kind of humour,” he retorted. Next in line:  Hanks, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carrey, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg, Robin Williams.  Plus eight Batman candidates: Alec Baldwin, Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Michael J Fox, Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze and the winning Michael  Keaton. And so TV comic Tim Allen won his film debut. He had a record (28 months for attempted dealing) but Disney reluctantly broke its no-ex-cons policy. He’d been punished – and now more so. Stifling in his fat suit and facial prosthetics during the Summer shoot, he needed cooling-off breaks. They didn’t prevent a neck rash from the Santa suit. Come the Toy Story series, he could voice Buzz Lightyear in his pjs.

38 – 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…

39 – Val Kilmer, Batman Forever, 1994.

40 – Tom Cruise, Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, 1994


41 – Anthony Hopkins, Nixon, 1994.  

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, Gene Hackman, Tommy Lee Jones, Jack Nicholson, Gary Oldman and Robin Williams.- while   poor John Malkovich, was still 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.” Four years later, Dan Heyda (Stone’s choice for Trini Cordoza) played Nixon in Dick.


42 – Michael Keaton, Speechless, 1995.   Still rivals after all these years, Keaton won what Hanks wanted, More beef from his producer and co-star: Geena Davies.

43 – 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.

44 – 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.

45 – 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.


46 – Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire, 1996. 

The full story as told by auteurCameron Crowe to Deadline Hollywood’s Michael Fleming Jr in January 2017.  Tom Hanks wanted to do another movie with Jim [James L Brooks, who producedBig]. He liked my stuff and we had a couple conversations after Say Anything. The idea was, let’s not be slaves to writing this as a TOM HANKS MOVIE, but let’s have Tom Hanks on our minds as a guy who would play Jerry Maguire… But as Hanks got more and more into that white hot heat of superstardom, I always did think:  Well, if Tom Hanks doesn’t do this, who would be the dream Jerry Maguire..? More and more over time, that was Tom Cruise. I really felt that in my gut. So when the time came to finally show the script to Tom Hanks, [we] had a great meeting in New York… Just fooling around, he read..  and so I did hear Tom Hanks say the words, ‘This is Jerry Maguire.’ And of course, he was great.  [But] he wanted to do [direct] That Thing You Do, but was incredibly positive about this script… We sent the script to [Cruise], and he reacted immediately. I’d never worked with anybody in that stratosphere and friends would say: Watch out, they change your stuff. They’re really demanding. But… after he read the script, he said: I’ll fly out there. I’ll sit down. I’ll read for you. You tell me if you think I’m right for the part. He asked to audition. He came out, we sat and talked, and he said, well, let’s read this thing. He read the script out loud with Jim and me.” Hanks added: “It couldn’t have been anyone but Cruise.” Except auteur Cameron Crowe had also considered Tim Allen (briefly), Alec Baldwin, Edward Burns (who recommended his latest co-star, Connie Britton, for Dorothy; they both came second), Depp, Sean Penn (from Crowe’s first script, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1981), John Travolta and  Bruce Willis.


47 – James Cromwell, Star Trek: First Contact, 1996.   

48 – Paul McGann, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.    

49 – Woody Harrelson, The People v Larry Flynt, 1996.   Tom Hanks as a pornographer?! The subject was the porno king behind America’s Hustler magazine – a more gynecological version of Playboy.  The suits asked who he’d like playing  him. Michael Douglas, he said. Douglas said no.  Next? An invitation was left on  on Bill Murray’s phone.  He did not reply.  Nor did Tom Hanks.   Finally, Czech director Milos Forman – who saw Flynt as a defender of American  liberties first, and a pervert second –  voted Harrelson.

50 – 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!).


51 – 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 Tom refused. He’d been there and got the tote-bag. already!

52 – Harrison Ford, Air Force One, 1996.   The action-man POTUS was written for Kevin Costner, too busy mailing The Postman. He suggested Ford and if he passed, a new list included Hanks, Tommy Lee Jones (Bill Clinton’s Havard room-mate), John Malkovich (a wannabe presidential assassin during In The Line of Fire, 1992), Dennis Quaid (brother Randy had played LBJ), Keanu Reeves (at 28?), and ex-California Governor Arnold Schwarzeneger. The current Prez, Bill Clinton, loved the movie; future POTUS Donald Trump was inspired by it – “Harrison Ford on the plane… He stood for America!” Quized on TV about this, Ford turned to the camera and wearily said: “Donald, it was just a movie. Things like this don’t happen in real life.”

53 – Alec Baldwin, Ghosts of Mississippi, 1996. Needless to say, Hanks was top choice for the Hinds County  DA finally putting the killer of black civil rights leader Medgar Evers in jail 30 years  after the murder.  Not, alas, Baldwin’s finest hour. Then again, the drama was stolen by Evers’ son, Darrell, as himself.

54 – Liam Neeson,  Star Wars – Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace, 1997.

55  – 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, he came as Governor Jack Stanton. Travolta declined.


56 – Kevin Spacey, American Beauty, 1998.  

The suits said No to Spacey. “They wanted a more conventional leading man,” said director Sam Menes, “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, 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.” Mendes 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.”


57 – Dabbs Greer, The Green Mile, 1998.   Make-up tests did not age Hanks well enough to also play the older  version of Death Row  guard Paul Edgecomb in is the 67th of King’s staggering 313 screen credits.   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 , Rob and Laura in The Dick Van Dyke Showand  the parents of The Brady Bunch!

58 – Robin Williams, Bicentennial Man, 1999.   German director Wolfgang Petersen had worked with Tom Hanks on how to have Isaac Asimov’s robot turn human – before Tom passed it, to the Mrs Doubtfire team of Chris Columbus and Williams. Their take was weak. Quasimov.

59 – Jim Carrey, Man on the Moon, 1999.  Hollywood’s possibles for the biopic of surrealist comic Andy Kaufman included Hanks, Hank Azaria, John Cusack, Edward  Norton, Kevin Spacey. Oh and Nicolas Cage. Not for long as  he refused to audition. Czech director Milos Forman could not decide between Carrey and Norton. He let Universal decide. Carrey was the bigger draw. And brilliant!  “During the shooting,” recalled Forman, “I met Jim Carrey only twice. He was always in the role.  He was Andy Kaufman, Tony Clifton or Elvis Presley 24 hours a day!”

60 – Woody Allen,The Curse of the Jade Scorpion,  2001. Hanks said: No thanks. Too busy   to be the obsessive-compulsive insurance investigator CW Briggs. 


61 – Matt Damon, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, 2001.  Best thing about the Jack London-esque toon, said Chicago critic Roger Ebert, was that the animals did not talk. “The hero is… a horse and not a human with four legs.”The narrator, however, is the voice of Spirit –  a gig won by Damon from Hanks and Robert Redford. 

62 – Justin Theroux, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. 2002.   Drew Barrymore bought the movie rights and proved herself as star and producer with the 2000 movie and even this no-so-hot sequel. By aiming high and wanting mighty Hanks for Seamus O’Grady. Film flopped. So no 3 or 4. Indeed no more Angels until actress-turned-auteur Elizabeth Banks’ lukewarm reboot…. as many as  17 years later!

63 – Mark Rylance, Ready Player One, 2017.  Michael Keatyon and such regular Spielbergians as Toms Cruise and Hanks were tossed around for JD Halliday/Anorak once the director changed his mind about using a cast of unknowns. This became a third encounter of the Steven Spielbergkind for the British stage star Rylance after Bridges of Spies, 2014, and The BFG, 2015. Their fourth was The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara.

64 – Nicolas Cage, Adaptation, 2002.   The role(s)? The wizard Being John Malkovich scenarist Charlie Kaufman – with writer’s block. And as his twin – without.

65 – Jude Law, Cold Mountain, 2002.    Rather too old for the young wounded confederate soldier, Inman, tries to return to his North Carolina mountain and his gal, Nicole Kidman. Anyway, how could Miramax hope to afford him?

66 – Richard Gere, Shall We Dance, 2004.   Miramax calling again… The re-make of the 1996 Japanese hit proved harmless, charmless. Like most re-makes.

67 – Steve Martin, Shopgirl, 2005.    Tom was the first idea of Steve Martin until he felt (surprise, surprise!) better suited for Ray Porter. Martin had, after all, created him in his novel and now the movie.

68 – 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.

69 – Russell Crowe, State of Play, 2008.        Or, State of Delay as Brad Pitt called it after being stalled so long on it. When he finally walked,   the role of journalist Cal McAffrey was offered to Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Crowe took over – after discussing the film with Ridley Scot… one of the few directors never attached to it. 

70 – Will Smith, Seven Pounds, 2008.    Hanks auditioned but Smith nailed it  – his best role after Ali – because he loved the story – “a modern love story unlike any other”  – and  was able tyo sign up the Remember Me, My Love director,  Italian born  Gabriele Muccino. He later helmed Smith & Son (Jared) in The Pursuit of Hapyness, 2005.


71 – 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 of Tarzan’s daddy, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ eleven books about a Civil War veteran rediscovering his humanity when dealing with warring races on planet Barsoom… Burroughs’ name for Mars in 1911.

72 – 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.

73 – 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.

74 – Jesse Eisenberg,  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2015.

75 – Ricardo Darin, Todos lo saben (Everybody Knows), Spain-France-Italy, 2017.  Iranian  director Asghar Farhadi’s eighth film gestated over four years (he took time out to make his seventh and second Oscar-wnner, Forushande/The Salesman, in Iran). Back in Madris, Penelope Cruz’s husband was originally American. Hanks was  chosen – and  he was very keen. Then, Farhadi decided he had no wish to make a film in two languages. Enter: Darin, the Argentine star of 88 screen roles since 1960. Perfect!

76 – Michael B Jordan, Fahrenheit 451, TV, 2017.   Hollywood’s merry-go-round with the Ray Bradbury science fiction classic (first made in 1966 by François Truffaut) goes back so far that Mel Gibson was totally respectable when deeciuding to play Montag, the fireman whose job is to burn books! He then felt too old and aimed   to direct the re-make with a Tom Montag Cruise was way too busy and passed to Brad Pitt who was way too busy and passed to Tom Hanks who was way too buys but wanted a second date with his Green Mile director Frank Darabont. Never happened. Everything cooled. Until HBO realised there was a hot new star (and exec producer) in town. And as the old, 1940, title put it: Here Comes Mr Jordan.

77 – Michael Keaton, Dumbo, 2017.   Hanks is royalty at Disney. He voiced Woody in four chapters of Toy Storyand even played Walt Disney, himself, in Saving Mr Banks. He probably wasn’t too keen on the villain,  the Dreamland (!) amusement park king, VA Vandervere. Tom had a good excuse to pass, a commitment to Greyhound.   So Keaton made his fourth  film with Tim Burton.  Hanks was back on the Disney books  for a nice guy (his stock in trade) in another the live-action version of a toon classic -as Geppetto in  Pinocchio, 2021

78 – Ben Affleck, Triple Frontier, 2019. Five buddies take down a South American drug lord. But which magnificent five?  Well, it was only the squad leaders  mentioned – one wrinklie, one younger –as the script lay on the ropes for eight years, going from Paramount to, but of course, Netflix.  Tom Hanks-Johnny Depp were the 2010 duo, followed by Denzel Washington-Sean Penn, Tom Hardy-Channing Tatum, plus Ben Affleck and his bro, Casey. And finally Ben Affleck-Hunnam. Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith and Mark Wahlberg also featured in the mixes.. By which time it had run out of the steam it must have once had as Kathryn Bigelow was once going to direct. JC Chandor was no substitute.

79 – Dwayne Johnson, Jungle Cruise, 2020. Long before Johnson became the star – and producer  – dressing himself rather like Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen,  the tugboat skipper had been suggested for Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear  or Woody Pride –  Tim Allen and Tom Hanks. Johnson’s (and Emily Blunt’s) fourth Disney piece was the third movie based on a Disneyland after Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.



 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  79