Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari ‘Got Yelled at’ on the Set of ‘Bosom Buddies’ for Irritating the Crew This Way

When Peter Scolari died on Oct. 22, most of his obituaries mentioned Bosom Buddies. Newhart and Girls also, but Bosom Buddies was his big break. And it was his big break mainly because it was also his co-star’s big break. Tom Hanks was Scolari’s co-star on Bosom Buddies, and Hanks remembers the trouble they used to get into.

Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari dressed as women in Bosom Buddies
L-R: Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari | CBS Photo Archive

Hanks was a guest on the Smartless podcast on Oct. 31. When he shared memories with hosts Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett of Scolari, he revealed that they used to get into trouble during rehearsals. 

Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari WERE ‘Bosom Buddies’

Landing the lead roles on Bosom Buddies was a big step in both Hanks and Scolari’s acting career. They played men who dressed as women so they could live in an apartment in an all-women building. That made it challenging when they fell in love with their neighbors, but had to keep up the ruse. They performed in front of a live audience, and rehearsed for the television cameras. 

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When we did Bosom Buddies, Peter Scolari and I, my dear old pal, we actually shot that show on video, not on film cameras. Film cameras in those days, that was pretty much a bunt. Camera blocking day was like your stand in did it. We had four video cameras and we had to do the entire camera blocking day ourselves on camera because they did a line cut. ‘Camera three, and tighten up on four, and four. Let’s come back, coming back to two and two.’ You had to be there for that so you worked a long day and you did every line of that week’s script over and over again.

Tom Hanks, Smartless podcast, 10/31/21

‘Bosom Buddies’ directors yelled at Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari for doing this

Camera blocking may be tedious for actors, but it’s necessary to make the show run smoothly. As young actors in their 20s, Hanks and Scolari didn’t always take camera blocking as seriously as they should have. 

“He and I just started goofing around so much, we got yelled at a couple of times,” Hanks said. “The director up in the booth, he’d come in over that top voice, ‘Hey guys, listen. We’re working really hard up here. Can you guys just skip to the lines? Otherwise we can’t get the line cut in. Check the tally lights on camera three Tom. When that comes on…’ We didn’t care. We were just goofing around so much.”

‘Bosom Buddies’ changed their lives

Bosom Buddies only lasted two seasons, but both actors did well after that. Scolari landed Newhart in 1984 and Hanks went on to become a movie star, top box office name and eventually an Oscar-winner. Hanks meant it when he called Scolari his “dear old pal.” They kept in touch and Scolari had a cameo in the movie Hanks directed, That Thing You Do

Hanks has been on top for so long, it’s hard to imagine how desperate he was when he did Bosom Buddies. To put things in perspective, Hanks described his lifestyle long before the Forrest Gump profit participation and HBO production deals.

“I couldn’t believe it, I was going to be on TV,” Hanks said. “Up to that point, as a Shakespearean actor, I made less than $10,000 in a year for an entire year. I was married and I had a kid. Geez, I made that in two weeks on Bosom Buddies. So the financial reprieve was huge.”

Source: Smartless podcast