To this day, Big is still one of the most popular films of the ‘80s and is considered to be one of Tom Hanks’ signature films. The classic comedy paired Hanks with the late Penny Marshall, who helmed the film. Based on the final product, one could assume that Hanks and Marshall were able to work together in harmony but, according to Barry Sonnenfeld, that wasn’t completely the case.
Barry Sonnenfeld stopped by our ReelBlend podcast and shared a number of stories about projects like Men in Black, Get Shorty and A Series of Unfortunate Events. He also talked about working alongside Tom Hanks as the cinematographer on Big, and he had an interesting story to share about Hanks and director Penny Marshall. You can listen to the entire discussion below:
According to Barry Sonnenfeld, Tom Hanks was relatively patient with Penny Marshall, who had a reputation for having a tough demeanor. Aside from asking Hanks to do multiple takes on certain scenes (for unclear reasons), she would also receive massages on set. At one point, Sonnenfeld even served as a go-between for the two:
Well, you have to admit those are certainly unusual circumstances for a film set. In many cases, a filmmaker likes to work directly with their actors. But then again, Penny Marshall was no typical filmmaker.
The relationship between actor and director can vary based on the people and the project their involved in. For instance, Underwater’s William Eubank forged a great relationship with his lead Kristen Stewart. The Peanut Butter Falcon’s Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz also enjoyed working with Shia LaBeouf.
Conversely, George Clooney didn’t have the best working relationship with director David O. Russell while the two were making Three Kings.
Tom Hanks and Penny Marshall may not have had the easiest relationship, but the success of Big proved the dynamic was effect. Plus, Hanks couldn’t have had too bad a time working with Marshall, since he would later reunite with her for 1992’s A League of Their Own.
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