Catherine O’Hara says she and Robert De Niro auditioned for ‘Big’

Catherine O’Hara arrives on the red carpet at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on Sunday, March 11, 2018. O’Hara made a revelation of her audition for Penny Marshall’s 1988 comedy “Big” in an interview with The Canadian Press on Wednesday as she reflected on the legacy of Marshall, the director and “Laverne & Shirley” star who died at her Los Angeles home Monday night due to complications from diabetes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Catherine O’Hara arrives on the red carpet at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on Sunday, March 11, 2018. O’Hara made a revelation of her audition for Penny Marshall’s 1988 comedy “Big” in an interview with The Canadian Press on Wednesday as she reflected on the legacy of Marshall, the director and “Laverne & Shirley” star who died at her Los Angeles home Monday night due to complications from diabetes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO — Catherine O’Hara once auditioned for filmmaker Penny Marshall’s 1988 comedy “Big” with Robert De Niro.

O’Hara made the revelation in an interview with The Canadian Press on Wednesday as she reflected on the legacy of Marshall, the director and “Laverne & Shirley” star who died at her Los Angeles home Monday night due to complications from diabetes.

“The one time I spent time with her I auditioned for ‘Big,’” O’Hara, whose hit Canadian comedy series “Schitt’s Creek” debuts its fifth season Jan. 8 on CBC TV, said by phone from Los Angeles.

“I don’t know if you know this, but Tom Hanks was not the original cast for that. I auditioned with Robert De Niro. Isn’t that a different movie?” the Toronto-born Emmy winner added with a laugh.

“Big” stars Hanks as a New Jersey teen whose wish to be “big” miraculously turns him into an adult overnight. Elizabeth Perkins plays his love interest.

O’Hara said she and De Niro auditioned for those two roles in front of Marshall, whom she didn’t know well but would see “at parties once in a blue moon.”

“She was great and supportive and fun,” O’Hara recalled, praising Marshall for becoming the first female director to direct a $100-million box office hit with “Big.”

O’Hara, an “SCTV” and Second City alumna who recently received the Order of Canada, went into the audition being a big fan of De Niro’s 1986 period drama ”The Mission.”

“Penny left the room for a while and I guess that was supposed to be the time where we were supposed to see how we got along,” she recalled with a laugh.

“Of course I was not cool at all and I started asking him about ‘The Mission’ and he was great. He told me all about shooting ‘The Mission’ and how he loved it too. And then he didn’t do the movie and of course I didn’t get cast.

“That was an odd little fun experience. It’s like at ‘SCTV’ where we would do the stage version of a movie and cast it. That was the most fun, was miscasting things. Not to say that Robert De Niro doing ‘Big’ would be miscast, it would just be a different movie. But it’s always fun to imagine other people playing those iconic roles.”

One of O’Hara’s most iconic films, the holiday classic “Home Alone,” was in the headlines Wednesday with star Macaulay Culkin reprising his role as Kevin McCallister for a Google commercial on social media.

O’Hara said she hasn’t heard of any plans to make another instalment in the “Home Alone” franchise but still gets requests to play Kevin’s mom for various initiatives.

“I had a strange request of an organization in England,” she said. ”They take care of under-privileged children and they were putting together a trip to take these children to New York so they could relive the experiences Kevin McCallister had in New York and they wanted me to show up as the mother.

“I think it would scare the kids, but I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t available. But throughout the years I’ve had kids look at me … with their frightened faces like, ‘Why do I think I know you?’ And then someone will say, ‘The mom in “Home Alone.”’ But that doesn’t make sense (to them), like, ‘Why would you be here?’”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lieutenant Commander Nicole Robichaud welcomes members of the Liberian Coast Guard aboard the HMCS Moncton for training with Royal Canadian Navy off the coast of Monrovia, Liberia, Africa. (Contributed photo by Corp. Ryan Moulton)
Red Deer-raised woman finds her sea legs as commander in the Royal Canadian Navy

Cdr. Nicole Robichaud started out as a local sea cadet

Rode
Feddema adds size and grit to RDC basketball Queens

Iris Feddema has known for several years what she wanted her future… Continue reading

A local photographer captured the contrails of two planes that crossed in the sky over north Red Deer on Wednesday. (Photo contributed by Eric Fischer)
Photo: Planes criss-cross over Red Deer

A local photographer captured the contrails of two planes that crossed in… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

A man injects hydromorphone at the Providence Health Care Crosstown Clinic in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday April 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
NDP lawmaker tables bill to decriminalize drug use as overdose deaths soar

NDP lawmaker tables bill to decriminalize drug use as overdose deaths soar

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Low-carbon bucks: Conservatives pitch consumer carbon pricing through savings account

Low-carbon bucks: Conservatives pitch consumer carbon pricing through savings account

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Howard Njoo responds to a question about vaccines during a weekly news conference, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 in Ottawa. Njoo says a faster vaccine ramp-up alone would likely not have thwarted the third wave of COVID-19 in many parts of the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccine point man aims to ensure more predictability for shipments

Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccine point man aims to ensure more predictability for shipments

Evan Siddall is pictured in Ottawa on September 21, 2017. Former head of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Evan Siddall has been named as the next chief executive for Alberta Investment Management Corp. He will succeed Kevin Uebelein. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AIMCo names former CMHC head Evan Siddall as next chief executive

AIMCo names former CMHC head Evan Siddall as next chief executive

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canadian home sales up 76% year-over-year, set new March record: CREA

Canadian home sales up 76% year-over-year, set new March record: CREA

WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims addresses the airline's annual meeting in Calgary, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
WestJet CEO Ed Sims finds Air Canada aid package ‘bittersweet’ as talks drag on

WestJet CEO Ed Sims finds Air Canada aid package ‘bittersweet’ as talks drag on

The TMX broadcast centre is shown in Toronto on May 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
S&P/TSX composite, Dow Jones and S&P 500 set record highs as mood rises on economy

S&P/TSX composite, Dow Jones and S&P 500 set record highs as mood rises on economy

A man wearing a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 checks his phone as the sun sets in English Bay in Vancouver on April 5, 2021. Canada's existing mobile phone services and consumer groups will get a landmark ruling from the CRTC this afternoon. The regulatory ruling could shift some of the market power held by Rogers, Bell and Telus, which collectively have more than 90 per cent of the country's subscribers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
CRTC to allow smaller wireless players better access to national networks

CRTC to allow smaller wireless players better access to national networks

Most Read