The Kid Tom Hanks from ‘Big’ Said the Movie Would Be a Grooming Scandal Today
Somehow, the phrase, “I swear, officer, I had no idea he was 12” doesn’t sound so good out-of-context.
Obviously, MacMillan Toy Company executive Susan Lawrence never actually says that line in the Tom Hanks classic Big, a beloved fantasy comedy-drama that turns 35 years old tomorrow (a much more appropriate age for Lawrence’s boyfriends). In retrospect, the whole “Tom Hanks is actually 12 but he’s having an explicitly romantic and implied sexual relationship with a grown woman” pitch is one of those 1980s plot lines that falls under the “Don’t think about it” category, along with Back to the Future’s story about a teen who travels back in time to take his mom to prom.
David Moscow, the actor who played the physically 12-year-old version of Hanks’ character Josh Baskin, told Yahoo! Entertainment in 2018 that Big is one of those classic comedies that probably couldn’t be made today for the simple reason that modern theatergoers don’t play nearly as fast-and-loose with the age of consent as audiences did in the 1980s. Next he’s going to tell us that Ted Nugent couldn’t write “Jailbait” today either.
For those unfamiliar, Big is the story of a small, pre-teen boy who makes a wish at fortune-telling machine to become “big,” leading to an overnight adolescence that spits out the 30-year-old body of Hanks with the mind of a child. After struggling to adjust to the adult world, he lands a cushy gig at a toy company, thanks to his childlike sense of fun and supersized piano playing skills, where he meets Lawrence, an adult with the mind of an adult, and begins an ambiguous but definitely not appropriate relationship.
“I think people would jump on (Big),” said Moscow, now 48 and far too old for Elizabeth Perkins’ character. “If they did make it, the press, before it even came out, would be ripping it to shreds. The religious fanatics would be out there talking about it. People would be demonstrating. I don’t think you could.”
Moscow said that, in the hopefully unlikely event that Big is ever remade, the romantic plot line would be scrapped from the revival. “That would go,” he explained. “It would be sort of like the other body-switching comedies where it was more about the father and the son flipping.”
Rebranding Big into Freaky Friday 2 could be a hit for some creatively bankrupt studio, but, frankly, I don’t think Moscow or the studio would have much to worry about over backlash to the romantic plot, at least not from the people he’d expect — the religious fanatics only care about statutory rape when it’s gay.