By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 17, 2002 01:00 PM

Tom Hanks, already a big movie star, is about to get even bigger.

His 1995 hit, director Ron Howard’s “Apollo 13” (about a nearly doomed 1970 space mission), has been reconfigured to be shown in 70mm IMAX, under the reconfigured title, “Apollo 13: The IMAX Experience.” This new version opens Friday.

Speaking about the film’s transformation to the giant-screen format (IMAX images are eight stories high) Hanks, 46, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” this week, “The first thing you think is: is my head really that big? Because it is, it is a huge, huge head … Essentially, your teeth are the size of cars. You know, they’re huge. That being said, you forget that very, very quickly, and you get into just whatever emotional story that the movie is able to tell.”

Further into the interview, the double Oscar winner (“Forrest Gump,” “Philadelphia”) admitted that as a child growing up in Concord, Calif., he used to imagine being the sort of astronaut he later would play in “Apollo 13,” Jim Lovell.

Hanks said he “would put a brick in the bottom of my pants and sit at the bottom of the pool breathing through a garden hose and kind of, like, float.” He would also “take apart the pool ladder and put it back together again, because I wanted to be doing a service in zero gravity of outer space.”

Further enforcing the vision, Hanks admitted that he also used to play with dolls — astronaut dolls, that is. “Major Matt Mason,” recalled Hanks, who said he would play with the toy at “the coffee table in my mom’s living room … for hours and hours and hours. Was I sick or what?”