Released in 1988, the family comedy centres around Josh Baskin (Tom Hanks), a 13-year-old boy who makes a wish and finds himself transformed overnight into an adult man.
Appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Monday (8 June), De Niro was quizzed about some famous “myths” surrounding his career.
One was the rumour that De Niro was originally cast as the adult Josh Baskin in the 1988 film, which the actor confirmed.
“Yes,” De Niro told Fallon. “But we had a thing, an issue with the negotiations, so it went the way it went. But that was fine.”
This isn’t the first time De Niro’s potential involvement in the Eighties comedy has been revealed, with actor Matthew Modine revealing in February that he was also offered the role after De Niro and Harrison Ford turned it down.
“I wish I’d done Big,” he told The Independent.
“When the script was sent to me, it was a much darker movie. They had offered the film to Robert De Niro and Harrison Ford before coming to me, so it didn’t make sense, ’cause those guys are almost 20 years older than me. I thought if I was cast in the film, it wouldn’t have the irony it needed.”
Elizabeth Perkins – who played adult Josh’s love interest in the film – also revealed in a recent interview that she auditioned for Big with De Niro, admitting that he was “more moody” than Hanks’s interpretation of the character.