There’s no one quite like Tom Hanks. And his broad appeal — coupled with his ability to balance both comedic and dramatic work — has led to countless comparisons to another Hollywood icon, James Stewart. Yet, despite Hanks’ reputation as an A-list star in his own right, other actors have occasionally tried to continue his characters’ stories. In one case, the same actor tried twice to step into Hanks’ shoes. And it didn’t work out quite as planned.
Tom Hanks is 1 of Hollywood’s biggest stars
Throughout the 1980s and still today, Hanks is one of the most popular and compelling leading men in the movie business. The star of films like Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, and Big has applied his signature everyman quality to such a wide range of hit roles. Whether it’s his role as Woody in the Toy Story franchise or his more somber work in Steven Spielberg historical dramas like Saving Private Ryan and Bridge of Spies, fans always trust Hanks.
In fact, his career is so jam-packed with classic movies that even most of his less appreciated ones have grown into cult classics. For every Hanks film sure to never be forgotten, there are several that have yet to find their audiences. So whenever a new star tries to step into one of his roles, it’s a tricky balancing act. And it’s too bad that the same actor had to realize that twice back in the late 1980s.
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The same actor took on 2 of Tom Hanks’ movie roles
Following his role on TV’s Bosom Buddies, Hanks started his movie career as a comedy star. And the mid-1980s saw him emerge as the lead of hits such as Bachelor Party, Volunteers, and The Money Pit. But it was two other roles that actor Todd Waring stepped into. And one of them was arguably Hanks’ most popular up to that point.
In 1988, Waring was cast in the TV movie, Splash, Too. The sequel to Hanks’ 1984 breakout hit Splash, this film caught up with Allen Bauer and his mermaid love Madison — with Amy Yasbeck stepping in for Daryl Hannah — four years later. The movie aired in two parts as part of ABC’s The Disney Sunday Movie and was quickly forgotten.
But this wasn’t Waring’s first brush with taking on a role previously played by Hanks. The previous year, the actor had starred opposite Bill Macy in a short-lived TV series based on 1986’s comedy-drama Nothing in Common. The film version starred Hanks and Jackie Gleason. But the show was canceled after just seven episodes.
Todd Waring went on to build an impressive TV career
Despite failing to successfully continue either of those Hanks roles, Waring did go on to a long career. Prior to Nothing in Common, he appeared on The Lucie Arnaz Show and The Stiller and Meara Show.
But he’s also appeared on such TV series as Wings, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Murphy Brown, Melrose Place, and NYPD Blue in the 1990s. More recently, Waring has made guest appearances on Scandal, American Crime Story, and the Apple TV+ series Servant.
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