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Tom Hanks was considered for the role of Phil Connors in Groundhog Day

Did you know that Tom Hanks, an actor best known for firing Connor Ratliff from a small part in Band of Brothers, was considered for the role of Phil Connors in Groundhog Day?

How seriously Hanks was considered or how close he came to taking the part is not know, but in an interview included on the Groundhog Day Blu-ray, Harold Ramis mentions how Hanks eventually admitted that Bill Murray was the better choice for the role.

Said Ramis in the interview: “I had actually mentioned it to Tom Hanks at one point. But I hadn’t worked with Tom. I liked him very much. But Bill was just a much more logical choice and a really great choice for it.

Tom Hanks as Phil Connors
Tom Hanks as Phil Connors

And finally Tom saw the film and he said to me: ‘You know, it’s really good that Bill did the movie and not me.’ And I said ‘Why?’ And he said ‘Well with me, everyone thinks of me as a good guy. And when I was, if I was playing Phil Connors, they would just be waiting for the the moment when I turned from nasty guy to good guy. Because with Bill you never know.’

You never really know who he’s going to be in a movie ’cause he’s that amazing combination of good and nasty and so he said it was ‘much better for the movie that it was Bill Murray and not me.’ And I agree with him.”

It’s hard to imagine anyone but Bill Murray in the lead role of the film, but perhaps in an alternate universe there’s a version of Groundhog Day where Tom Hanks is the star of the movie.

What do you think? Would Hanks have been believable as Phil Connors? Do you think the film would have been as popular?

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