In the movie Big, which debuted 25 years ago this month, Tom Hanks plays a 12-year-old kid who longs to be big and has his wish granted — and then some — overnight. Both tender and hilarious, the wish-fulfillment comedy remains a favorite of kids and kids at heart, not least of all because of a showstopping centerpiece in which the Oscar-nominated Hanks and Robert Loggia commandeer a gigantic toy-store piano. Loggia reflects on the making of that famous scene.
“[Director] Penny Marshall had given Tom and me a large paper cutout of piano keys and a tape of the song ‘Heart and Soul.’ We were supposed to practice playing the tune with our feet individually at our homes in California. When we arrived in New York for the shoot and were actually filming the scene at FAO Schwarz, we were both completely prepared. What we hadn’t realized was Penny had two professional dancers, dressed like Tom and me, standing by. The idea is that we would start out in a long shot, and then she would probably cut to the dancers’ feet on the piano keys actually doing the playing. Tom and I decided, ‘No way!’ Having Tom and me do our own dancing, you can see the pure delight on both of our faces because not only were we having fun, but we didn’t need anyone stepping in to do it for us. As I recall, we did it really well in the first take, with probably a couple more following, just for ‘insurance.’ ”