In 'Big,' Tom Hanks improvised one of the film's funniest scenes.
Big is one of Tom Hanks' most well-known films.
The 1988 comedy is also likely to be one of the actor's most enduring films.
After all, it has been around for over three decades.
While Big was a watershed moment in Hanks' career, it also served as a culmination of all of his comedic abilities up to that point.
For example, Hanks' improvisation was crucial to the film's success.
Prior to Big, Hanks' filmography was almost entirely comprised of comedies.
Apart from a role in the 1980 horror film He Knows You're Alone, the actor's early filmography includes blockbusters like Splash and Bachelor Party, as well as lesser-known films like The Man with One Red Shoe, Volunteers, The Money Pit, and Nothing in Common.
Every Time We Say Goodbye, Hanks' first full-fledged drama, was released in 1986 and failed to make a significant impact.
Big would give Hanks the perfect showcase just two years later.
While the central premise of a 12-year-old boy waking up as a 30-year-old man is inherently comedic, the film also contains a lot of heart and pathos.
As a result, Hanks is able to capture both a young boy's innocence as well as the terrifying aspects of his character's character being thrust into adulthood overnight.
Elizabeth Perkins, who plays Hanks' co-worker and love interest Susan, revealed how much the actor contributed to Big in a 2013 article for the New York Post.
Perkins recalled Hanks improvising many different versions of the same scene, such as his character's entrance into a swanky office party.
Given how heavily director Penny Marshall relies on Tom Hanks' comedic timing in the film, it's amazing to think she once envisioned Robert De Niro as the film's star.
With De Niro at the helm, the film would have obviously worked very differently, but in hindsight, it's difficult to imagine it working at all without someone with Hanks' specific skill set at the helm.
Big was perhaps Hanks' first significant foray into "serious acting," as he received his first Academy Award nomination for his role as a young boy in the film.
While Hanks has tended to gravitate toward darker films since then, he has never lost his ability to seamlessly transition from one genre to the next at a moment's notice.
Hanks has frequently returned to his comedy roots in films like Saving Private Ryan and Captain Phillips, in addition to tackling heavy subject matter in films like Saving Private Ryan and Captain Phillips.
While films like The Terminal and Larry Crowne aren't as well-known, Hanks' collaborations with director Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail) are. And, of course, the actor channels his youthful manic energy whenever he enters the studio for another Toy Story project.