16 Movies That Almost Starred Tom Hanks

Jemal Countess/Getty Images
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Tom Hanks is one of the most accomplished actors on the planet, with two Best Actor Oscars to prove it. He’s also known as one of the nicest human beings in Hollywood. As you can imagine, Hanks’s services are in high demand, but even a benevolent soul like Hanks cannot say "yes" to every single project he is offered. So let's take a look back at some of Hanks's lost roles.

1. Get Crazy (1983)

It was very early in the actor's movie career, yet director Allan Arkush knew that he wanted Tom Hanks as his lead Neil Allen. Instead, studio executive Herb Solow insisted on Daniel Stern. According to Arkush, Solow also nixed casting Mariska Hargitay and Jerry Orbach.

2. Police Academy (1984)

In 2005, Police Academy creator Paul Maslansky claimed that the filmmakers's wish list for the role of Mahoney read, in no particular order: Michael Keaton, Tom Hanks, and Judge Reinhold. Steven Guttenberg ended up with the part.

3. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

Director Rob Reiner talked to Hanks about playing Harry in When Harry Met Sally..., as well as Albert Brooks, Richard Dreyfuss, and Michael Keaton. Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal had immediate chemistry, and the rest is cinema (and delicatessen) history.

4. Super Mario Bros. (1993)

According to Jeff Ryan’s book Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America, Hanks was hired to play Mario before he was fired and replaced by Bob Hoskins, who was asking for less money anyway. Hanks won his first Best Actor Oscar for his role in 1993's Philadelphia (the second one came a year later, for Forrest Gump), which came out the same year as Super Mario Bros.—a film that was universally panned and Hoskins later called his biggest disappointment in life.

5. Groundhog Day (1993)

Director Harold Ramis admitted in a 2009 Q&A that he initially wanted Hanks to play Phil Connors. Hanks later told Ramis he made the right choice in Bill Murray, saying, "Audiences would have been sitting there waiting for me to become nice, because I always play nice. But Bill’s such a miserable S.O.B. on- and offscreen, you didn’t know what was going to happen."

6. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Hanks, Kevin Costner, and Tom Cruise passed on Andy Dufresne before Tim Robbins got the role of a lifetime.

7. When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

Tom Hanks was originally set to play Michael Green, until the first director rewrote Al Franken and Ronald Bass’s darkly comedic script about codependency. After a couple of years, director Luis Mandoki came on board and fixed the script with Franken and Bass. Hanks had moved on by then, and Andy Garcia took the gig instead.

8. Speed (1994)

Screenwriter Graham Yost recalled that the studio went to Hanks and Cruise first, then Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, and others before Keanu Reeves’ name was ever brought up to potentially play Jack.

9. Nixon (1995)

Hanks had been set to play the 37th President of the United States in The Passion of Richard Nixon, a project that never saw the light of day. Knowing this, Oliver Stone approached Hanks about playing Nixon in his Tricky Dick movie instead. Anthony Hopkins signed on after Hanks turned Stone down.

10. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Cameron Crowe wrote the movie with Hanks in mind as the protagonist. Hanks was busy directing his movie That Thing You Do!. He later told Crowe the movie was perfect with Cruise as the lead.

11. Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Hanks also missed out on playing Zefram Cochrane as a result of being too busy working on That Thing You Do!. This pass might have hurt more, since Hanks is a huge Star Trek fan, and had already expressed regret two years earlier that he didn’t have time appear in a Star Trek: Next Generation episode or Star Trek movie.

12. Primary Colors (1998)

Hanks initially agreed to play the lead in the Mike Nichols-directed adaptation of the book known to be about Bill Clinton’s first successful presidential campaign, until he realized he was too busy. The media alleged Hanks backed out because of his friendship with Clinton, and had to deny that was the case. In fact, Hanks claimed Clinton told him he had his blessing to take the role. John Travolta got the honor instead.

13. The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)

Woody Allen alleged that both Hanks and Jack Nicholson turned down the lead in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, possibly because they weren’t offered enough money.

14. Kinsey (2004)

According to E! Online columnist Anderson Jones, Hanks was among a group of A-list actors who “flirted” with the part of Kinsey. Liam Neeson ended up playing the controversial sexologist.

15. Shopgirl (2005)

Steve Martin approached Hanks to play Ray. Hanks was too busy, so Martin took the role he had written himself.

16. Dino

Martin Scorsese co-wrote the screenplay and was set to direct a Dean Martin biopic, with Hanks playing the singer/comedian. Scorsese had planned to make it after Gangs of New York, but it never got made.

This story has been updated for 2020.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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Remembering Rebecca: 11 Facts About Daphne du Maurier's Enduring Novel

Lily James as Mrs de Winter and Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter in Rebecca (2020).
Lily James as Mrs de Winter and Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter in Rebecca (2020).
KERRY BROWN/NETFLIX

“Rebecca, always Rebecca. I should never be rid of Rebecca,” laments the second Mrs de Winter in Daphne du Maurier’s beloved 1938 novel Rebecca. Mention the title to any bibliophile and they will no doubt give you many reasons why the novel has charmed and captivated so many generations over the years. So it's hardly surprising that this gothic thriller about a nameless young woman—who is swept off her feet by a wealthy widower, taken to live in his estate off the Cornish coast, and haunted by memories of his first wife—is the subject of Netflix’s next big-budget original.

The film, which stars Lily James (Downtown Abbey) and Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name) arrives on Netflix on October 21, 2020. As you wait for the new adaptation to drop, here are a few facts about this enduring novel to keep you curious. **Warning: Spoilers below!**

1. Rebecca was first published in 1938 and has never gone out of print.

Selznick International Pictures, Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

Since it was published in 1938, Rebecca has never gone out of print [PDF], selling 2.8 million copies between 1938 and 1965. Over time, the novel has transformed from bestseller to cultural classic, with many stage and screen adaptations, including an Oscar-winning film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940, and a 1993 book sequel by Susan Hill titled Mrs de Winter. In 2017, English bibliophiles voted Rebecca their favorite book of the past 225 years.

2. The heroine of Rebecca, Mrs de Winter, remains unnamed throughout.

Rebecca, after whom the novel is named, is dead when the story begins. She is brought to life via the impressions and memories other characters have of her and her lingering presence in Maxim de Winter's estate, Manderley, via her scent, her handwriting in books, and the carefully preserved clothes that remain in her wardrobe. Mostly, we see her through the eyes of the new Mrs de Winter, the "heroine" of the novel who, paradoxically, remains unnamed—a choice that surprised many fans of the book, including Agatha Christie [PDF].

3. Daphne du Maurier struggled with writer’s block while writing Rebecca.

Daphne du Maurier circa 1947.Ben van Meerendonk, AHF, IISG, Amsterdam // Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

Du Maurier struggled with a serious case of writer’s block when she began writing Rebecca. She discarded the first 50 pages of an early draft, telling her publisher: "The first 15,000 words I tore up in disgust and this literary miscarriage has cast me down."

4. Once she got past her writer’s block, Daphne du Maurier wrote Rebecca in four months.

Once she got past her early writing challenges, du Maurier wrote quickly and completed the manuscript for Rebecca in four months. Her secret? Arranging to spend time away from her children. “I am not one of those mothers who live for having their brats with them all the time,” du Maurier later wrote.

5. Rebecca has been celebrated as an important piece of feminist literature.

Initially marketed as a romance novel with Rebecca as the villainous, menacing wife, feminist interpretations of du Maurier’s novel now see it as a critique of gender power dynamics and a sexist society’s fear of powerful women. Some feminist critics suggest du Maurier intended for Maxim de Winter to be the real villain—the controlling husband who not only murders Rebecca when she refuses to play the obedient wife, but also oppresses and alienates the second Mrs de Winter, marrying her after the most unromantic of proposals: “I am asking you to marry me, you fool.”

6. In 2007, to mark the centenary of Daphne du Maurier's birth, the BBC produced two documentaries on the author.

Daphne, directed by Amy Jenkins, was based on Margaret Forster's biography of du Maurier which revealed, for the first time, du Maurier’s bisexuality. For the second documentary, The Road to Manderley, director Rick Stein set off in search of the author's world in Cornwall.

7. Some scholars believe Rebecca's second Mrs de Winter reflected Daphne du Maurier's sexual fluidity.

Some critics have wondered to what extent the character of the second Mrs de Winter was influenced by the author’s complicated and fluid sexuality. As Margaret Forster points out in her 1993 biography, du Maurier didn't think her desire for women made her a lesbian. The word transgender was not yet in common use then, but the author saw herself as female on the outside “with a boy’s mind and a boy’s heart.”

In the novel, the narrator casts herself as an androgyne, a friend and companion to Maxim, "a sort of boy," and obsessively wonders about Rebecca’s absent body, how she wore her coat, the color of her lipstick, her scent “like the crushed petals of azaleas."

8. Rebecca’s Manderley was inspired by two real-life estates.

A photo of Milton Hall.Julian Dowse, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

The secretive mansion which lends the novel its famous opening line, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again," was partly inspired by Milton Hall [PDF], an estate near Cambridge that du Maurier spent time at as a child. When she wrote Rebecca nearly 20 years later, du Maurier told Milton Hall's owner that she based Manderley's interiors on her memories of the "big house feel" [PDF] of Milton during WWI.

The other estate du Maurier had in mind when imagining Manderley was the Menabilly estate in Fowey, Cornwall. Du Maurier fell in love with the house when she was 21 years old. Five years after Rebecca was published, she convinced its owners to lease her the home. But just like Manderley is forever lost to Mrs de Winter in a fire, du Maurier was forced to move out of Menabilly in 1969.

9. Daphne du Maurier has been accused of plagiarizing parts of Rebecca from Brazilian author Carolina Nabuco's book The Successor.

Brazilian critics have long argued that du Maurier plagiarized Rebecca from Brazilian author Carolina Nabuco's 1934 book, The Successor. While the two novels do share striking plot similarities, the allegations were never proven one way or another. Du Maurier also faced a lawsuit in 1947 for allegedly plagiarizing Edwina DeVin McDonald’s novel Blind Windows and the short story "I Planned to Murder my Husband." Du Maurier denied any charges.

10. During World War II, a copy of Rebecca was discovered among the possessions of two captured German spies.

British intelligence officers determined that a copy of Rebecca had been used by the Germans during World War II as a code key.

11. Rebecca has been adapted to a variety of media.

Rebecca had been adapted for film several times, but the best-known adaptation is Hitchcock’s 1940 film of the same name. It’s also been adapted to television a number of times, as a radio play, and an opera.