‘Big’ at 25: David Moscow grows up
‘Big’ turns 25. That means young Josh Baskin (David Moscow), the young star of the film, has finally grown up. USA TODAY catches up with Moscow.
- David Moscow played young Josh Baskin in ‘Big,’ which came out in 1988 The Penny Marshall-directed film was a huge hit for Tom Hanks (older Josh Baskin) and Moscow The film is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special-edition Blu-Ray and DVD release
With the 1988 comedy classic Big turning 25, it’s official: Young Josh Baskin (played by David Moscow) has grown up.
Moscow was an 11-year-old acting newbie when he auditioned for the part “Young Josh” in the Penny Marshall-directed comedy, with Tom Hanks playing his magically transformed older self.
The rest is film history as the film become an international hit (and is being celebrated with a special 25th anniversary Blu-ray and DVD release) while Hanks soared into super-stardom.
Moscow, too, had to deal with giddy, unexpected success.
“It was completely transformative,”says Moscow, now 39.”I don’t think my parents or I knew anything like this would happen. It was just like, I showed up, I read lines and people liked what I did and I got it. But it was huge. I couldn’t walk down the street.”
Moscow had initially auditioned (badly) for the part of Josh’s best friend, Billy, in the film at a time when Robert De Niro (yes, that De Niro) was set to play the part of older Josh.
When Moscow didn’t get a callback, he wasn’t surprised.
But when De Niro dropped out of the production and Hanks was brought on, Penny had Moscow brought back in months later for a new audition. He nailed it and got the part. But he had to make a transition to play a younger Hanks.
“I had to get my hair dyed and green contact lenses, which were the most painful thing in the world at that point,” says Moscow.
To get into the youthful character, Hanks followed Moscow and his friends around New York City with a video camera documenting how young kids carried on. Much of this behavior was incorporated into the film.
Filming the role was a treat for Moscow, especially the carnival scenes where Josh is transformed with a wish from a young kid into an adult. The scenes were shot at night.
“It was the first time I ever stayed up all night, and I had the carnival to myself pretty much for four nights in a row,”he says.”I could go around during my downtime and ride the rides. And it was a lot of cotton candy. It was amazing.”
David Moscow, now 39, has grown up from young Josh in "Big," which turns 25. (Photo: 20th Century Fox)
After the movie became a hit, Moscow went to Los Angeles to continue acting. He hung out with Jared Rushton (who played his pal Billy in the film) as well as the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Drew Barrymore.
Moscow stayed out of trouble for a young star (“I’m a mama’s boy, and she kept a close eye on me,” he says). And he took time out to travel the world between acting gigs.
He has starred in critically acclaimed films such as Newsies (1992) and along with Ashton Kutcher in 2003’s Just Married. But nothing has come close to the Big experience.
“When you do a film and it’s nominated for Academy Awards and stuff like that, it sets a really high bar. It’s like this is how it’s always going to be. But you realize to be in a classic like that is a rare thing,”Moscow says.”It’s just a special movie.”
“You have to learn how to handle people stopping you in the street and one day people not stopping you in the street,”he says.”You have to stay grounded. And realize in the end the work is the important thing.”
In 2012, Moscow produced his first film, Hellbenders. He is currently directing the thriller Desolation .
David Moscow in a scene from the 1988 motion picture "Big." (Photo: Warner Bros.)