The Taxi Driver actor was originally cast as Tom Hanks’ Josh Baskin in the 1988 comedy

By Salina Tsegai
June 09, 2021 03:33 PM
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Robert De Niro really could have been Josh Baskin in another life!

The Taxi Driver actor, 58, virtually stopped by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Monday where he explained why he decided to exit the 1988 comedy Big despite landing the lead role in the movie.

"We had a thing with the negotiation, the thing, so it went the way it went," the two-time Oscar winner said. "So, it's fine."

Elizabeth Perkins, who played Susan Lawrence in the movie, visited Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen earlier this year and revealed De Niro was originally set to play her love interest.

Robert De Niro; Tom Hanks in Big
Robert De Niro; Tom Hanks in Big
| Credit: MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP via Getty Images; Moviestore/Shutterstock

"Robert De Niro was actually cast in the role of Josh," said Perkins, 60. "And then it fell apart because he had a scheduling conflict, and then they went to Tom Hanks."

Perkins added, "It's like a totally different movie in my brain with Robert De Niro."

The role ended up going to Tom Hanks, which catapulted the actor to instant stardom. 

Although De Niro didn't star in the film, he went on to act in critically acclaimed films like Heat, Casino, Goodfellas and more. 

The actor, who will soon star alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorcese's Killers of the Flower Moon, also told Fallon he ad-libbed his most famous line "Are you talkin' to me?" in the 1976 thriller Taxi Driver. He said he often hears the line when he runs into fans.

"I remember years ago in L.A., down in the Valley, a bunch of kids pulled up next to me at a red light and say, 'Are you talkin' to me?'" the actor recalled. "I don't know how they recognized me."