When it comes to acting and having roles that have defined generations, few actors have been as prolific as Tom Hanks. The 64-year-old actor has starred in everything from Forrest Gump to Philadelphia, earning him countless roles and accolades along with way.
The Toy Story actor has also had the fortune of working with countless co-stars over the years, including Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts, among others. However, there is one actor he refused to work with. If he had, it might have saved him from one of the biggest flops of his career.
This is how Tom Hanks became famous
Hanks was raised in Concord, California, by his single father, Amos Mefford Hanks, a traveling cook, after his parents divorced in 1960. Since his father had to look for work, by the time Hanks was 10, he had lived in at least 10 different homes.
However, the Splash actor found his stride in college, where he studied theater and eventually met actor/ director Vincent Dowling. Dropping out of college, Hanks interned under Dowling for years, soaking in everything he could.
He eventually gained notoriety in the Cleveland theater circuit before moving to New York City in 1979 and snagging his first movie role in a low-budget horror film. He then moved to LA and snagged a lead role on the ABC sitcom, Bosom Buddies, and his career took off.
His next movies, 1984’s Splash and 1988’s Big, made him a household name. However, not all of Hanks’ movies have been a smashing success.
‘The Bonfire of the Vanities’ was a major flop for Tom Hanks
In 1990, Hanks starred in Brian De Palma’s The Bonfire of the Vanities opposite Melanie Griffith and Bruce Willis. It was based on Tom Wolfe’s 1984 novel of the same name. However, it was a critical and box office failure grossing just $15 million on a budget of $47 million.
There was a lot of concern around Griffith, her looks, and her known substance abuse. In fact, many people did not want her for the role of Maria Ruskin, Hanks’ character’s lover.
In fact, De Palma had advocated for then- 19-year-old upcoming actor Uma Thurman to step into the role. Thurman had just had two impressive performances in Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Stephen Frears’s Dangerous Liaisons. According to journalist Julie Salamon in her book, The Devil’s Candy: The Anatomy of a Hollywood Fiasco via Yahoo! Entertainment, De Palma insisted on s screen test between Hanks and Thurman. “Uma’s so beautiful,” he said. “Like Veronica Lake.”
Tom Hanks refused to work with Uma Thurman
Hanks thought Thurman was much too young. However, Salamon had another account of why the Greyhound actor refused to work with the Pulp Fiction actor.
“When she walked in here I was stunned,” Hanks told De Palma after the audition according to The Devil’s Candy. “She’s quite attractive, almost erotic. She certainly had a sense of play.”
However, just a few days later, Hanks had a change of heart. “I just can’t act with Uma,” he’s quoted as saying. In The Devil’s Candy, it’s clear that the acting legend was left hot and bothered by his young co-star and he decided it would be in everyone’s best interest if someone else was cast in the role. It turns out it was best for Thurman always since everything from shooting the film to getting it into theaters was disastrous.
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