It's sometimes tough to find bright spots amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but one of them has undoubtedly been watching beloved entertainers find new ways to amuse and delight us from afar, often while raising money for a good cause. Frozen and Beauty and the Beast star Josh Gad, for example, has done his part through Reunited Apart, a web series built around gathering the people behind classic films for a little bit of virtual discussion. After thrilling the internet with reunions for The Goonies and Back to the Future, this week Gad decided it was time to make a splash with ... well, Splash.
After posting a teaser video in which he demanded Ron Howard — who directed the classic fantasy rom-com back in 1984 — deliver Tom Hanks to viewers, both Gad and Howard made good on their tease Tuesday when they convened for a chat that included Hanks himself, as well as costars Daryl Hannah and Eugene Levy, co-writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, and producer Brian Grazer. The chat doubled as a fundraiser for DIGDEEP, a nonprofit working to provide water and sanitation access to more than two million Americans who still don't have those utilities.
In discussing how the film came to be, Howard immediately recalled the days of trying to convince Disney that the movie was worth doing even as another mermaid film starring no less a movie star than Warren Beatty was in development (it was never released), making the studio skittish.
"I said, 'All right, look. I'm 27 years old. [Director] Herbert Ross is in his 60s. He doesn't have to work as hard as me. Warren Beatty is not going to hustle. I will live at this studio," Howard promised. "'I will not leave the lot until the movie is out before theirs. If it happens to be a horse race, they cannot win it.' They sort of bought that."
When it came to casting, the film was a notable breakout for Hanks, then best-known for his television series Bosom Buddies, and while Hannah was already an established film actress at that point (she starred in Blade Runner just two years before), it turned out they were both nervous about the romantic elements of the film.
"I was terrified because I was still, even though I was like 21 or 22, I still really hadn't had a boyfriend," Hannah said. "I was terrified about the kiss."
Though Howard recalled Hanks' professionalism during the process of testing for screen chemistry with Hannah, the director also noted that the now-two-time-Oscar winner was convinced he'd lose his job by blowing his first moments with the actress.
"Tom is always cool as a cucumber, coolest customer you could possibly imagine. So he doesn't look terrified, but he says, 'I'm sick with fear, because I think I'm going to lose this job doing this [chemistry test],'" Howard recalled. "And I said, 'You'll never be onscreen! I'm just going to shoot over your shoulder' or something.
"Tom did it, dutifully," he continued. "Daryl rocked the test, it was all great."
For more stories from the making of Splash, including a special guest paying tribute to the late John Candy, check out the video above.