Elizabeth Perkins looks back on the 1988 movie Big with a different set of eyes now. The actress recently spoke with The Guardian, where she reveals she thinks the film's big sex scene with her and Tom Hanks would be taken very differently among today's audience. The film follows Josh, a teenage boy whose wish to grow up comes true and he wakes up as an adult (Tom Hanks). The scene under scrutiny depicts Tom Hanks and Perkins in the bed together and the 13-year-old boy turned man gingerly touches her breast. The next scene shows him skipping out of the elevator in the morning, clearly excited to have his first sexual encounter. While he has the body of an adult, the audience remembers the character is essentially still a teenager. Perkins acknowledged the issue, admitting "I’ve been called a pedophile." "You know, I get it. The only thing I can say is it was a different time. It was the 80s; it was not viewed through that lens and I get that it is being viewed through that lens now," Perkins tells the outlet.
“It was a setup for a joke that today would not be acceptable,” she continued. “Oh, we had several different takes,” she said. “We had me being horrified, me being scared. There are a lot of different ways that we can go, but I think Penny [Marshall, the director] chose very carefully – that there is a lot of admiration between Susan and Josh, and ultimately a great friendship.”
In a second interview with Entertainment Tonight, she shared that the role was originally intended for a completely different movie star named Robert De Niro. “It fell apart because he had a scheduling conflict, and then they went to Tom Hanks. It’s like a totally different movie in my brain with Robert De Niro.” However, Perkins doesn't lose sleep thinking about what-ifs. She says she believes the role went to the right man. “He was more moody. It was more of a — a little more of a horror movie. Robert De Niro wandering around the streets of New York,” she said. “What Tom Hanks brought to it was so much lighter.”