Tom Hanks reveals the strange way he ended up being cast in his starring role in 1984’s Splash. Directed by Ron Howard, Splash is a fantastic romantic comedy that tells the story of a young man, Allen (Hanks), who falls in love of Madison (Daryl Hannah), the mermaid who saved his life as a child. In addition to Hanks and Hannah, the film also features performances by John Candy, Eugene Levy, Shecky Greene, and Dody Goodman, among others. Splash was both a critical and commercial success, earning praise for Howard’s direction and the charming performances of Hanks and Hannah.
In a recent interview on The Jess Cagle Show (via EW), Hanks recalls that it was actually his guest-starring role on an episode of Happy Days in 1982 that led to his casting in Splash.
Hanks stars as Dwayne Twitchell in the episode “A Little Case of Revenge” as a former classmate of Fonzie’s (Henry Winkler). After spending decades holding a grudge against Fonzie, things come to a head in the episode where Dwayne, a karate expert, kicks Winkler’s character through a window. It was this memorable scene, Hanks reveals, that led to his role in Splash. Check out Hanks’ recollection of the events below:
“I kicked Fonzie. I dressed up in a judo and karate suit. And I think I’m legendary the first guy to really hit Fonzie. I kicked him through the window at Al’s Drive-in.”
“Ron Howard had already left [Happy Days], and he was directing, and they had written this movie called Splash. And he was at Disney, and nobody wanted to work for Disney, and nobody was going to take the job. And finally they said, “Hey, this guy who kicked Fonzie through a flat glass window might be good.” And so I ended up auditioning for that.”
How Splash helped make Tom Hanks a star
Prior to Splash, Hanks had only appeared in one other feature film, a horror film titled He Knows You’re Not Alone in 1980 in which he appears briefly as a cute potential love interest. In Splash, however, Hanks takes center stage, fully displaying the charm and charisma that have since become synonymous with the actor. Hanks would go on to star in several more films in the mid-80s, but it wasn’t until 1988’s Big that another film was truly able to capitalize on his on-screen likability and presence. While Splash has since been overshadowed by a number of other films in Hanks’ impressive filmography, it was truly the first time that Hanks was able to showcase his unique talent as a leading man to a large audience.
After Splash and Big, it was essentially out of the race for Hanks. The actor would appear in a number of films in the 1990s which, while not all of them successful or even good, further solidified his movie star persona. Lesser Hanks’ films like The ‘Burbs and Turner & Hooch soon gave way to bigger hits like A League of Their Own and the timeless Sleepless in Seattle. After Philadelphia comes 1994’s Forrest Gump, a film that, while very different from Hanks’ previous roles, probably doesn’t really work without the actor’s involvement. While Splash and Forrest Gump couldn’t be more different as films, Hanks’ charm and charisma are a crucial ingredient to both.
Splash was released nearly 40 years ago and Hanks has obviously evolved a lot as a movie star, but his inherent likability remains as strong as ever. Now, instead of being the glamorous love interest in the movies, Hanks has channeled his charisma into parts that often make him a father figure. While the actor now has dozens of performances under his belt that are perhaps more memorable than those in Happy Days and Splash, it’s his role in the latter that is largely responsible for the movie star he is today — and that’s all because he kicked Fonzie through a window!
Fonte: The Jess Cagle Show (tramite EW)