Tom Hanks landed Splash by kicking Fonzie’s butt

Tom Hanks didn’t land Splash by starring in Bosom Buddies, but rather whopping Fonzie’s butt on an episode of Happy Days.

Tom Hanks Splash

Tom Hanks got his first big breakthrough on the big screen with Ron Howard’s mermaid-out-of-water comedy Splash. But it wasn’t his run on the sitcom Bosom Buddies that landed him a spot alongside Daryl Hannah. It was actually whooping Fonz’s butt!

In a recent interview on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show (per Entertainment Weekly), Tom Hanks reflected on his one-off appearance in the season 10 episode “A Little Case of Revenge”, which aired in November 1982. “I kicked Fonzie…I got dressed up in a judo karate outfit. And I think I’m legendarily the first guy to actually strike Fonzie. I kicked him through the stained glass window of Al’s Drive-in,” he said, referring to the popular hangout for the Happy Days gang (actually called Arnold’s, but we won’t hold that against Hanks).

And that, apparently, was enough to impress Ron Howard, who was set to direct Splash, based on what would become an Oscar-nominated screenplay. Tom Hanks recalled his Splash casting, saying, “Ron Howard had already left the show [after season seven], and he was directing, and they had written this movie called Splash…And it was at Disney, and no one wanted to work for Disney, and no one would take the job. And eventually they said, ‘Hey, this guy who kicked Fonzie through a plate-glass window might be good.’ And so I ended up auditioning for that.”

Splash was a major hit for Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, Daryl Hannah, the writers, and the studio. Not only did the movie pull in nearly $70 million at the box office, but its screenplay was recognized with either a nomination or a win by the Writers Guild of America and at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, even earning a nod there for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Since then, the American Film Institute has nominated it as one of the funniest and most romantic movies. You can watch Splash on Disney+, complete with a digitally altered Daryl Hannah tushy!

It also proved that Tom Hanks could be a gifted leading man on the big screen, helping (along with Bachelor Party) show his comedic chops that he perfected in the 1980s with terrific comedies such as The Money Pit, Big and The ‘Burbs.

What do you think of Splash? Where does it rank among Tom Hanks’ ‘80s comedies?

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.