Big plays at Tribeca Film Festival Drive In

A ‘Big’ Tribeca Drive-In With Gary Ross

Big plays at Tribeca Film Festival Drive In
Big plays at Tribeca Film Festival Drive In

Everything I knew about growing up I learned from watching Big in the ’80s. I wish I were kidding. I’m actually quite serious. Let’s review the lessons shall we?

1. Growing up ain’t everything it’s cracked up to be.
2. Be careful what you wish for.
3. You can always go back to being a kid — if you really want to.

So there’s no way I was going to miss watching Big on the big screen for the second night of Tribeca Film Festival’s Drive-In. Having grown up in the neighborhood, I only wish I could have seen the film this way the first time around… And did I mention Zoltar would be making an appearance?

The famous FAO Schwartz scene.
The famous FAO Schwartz scene.

However, no one could have told me that it would be my good fortune to watch one of my favorite movie scenes of all time with the man who wrote it, screenwriter Gary Ross.

Ross is modest while we watch Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia tap out Heart and Soul on the giant floor piano. Ross doesn’t want to take credit for introducing the song to millions of kids since Big debuted in 1988: “It’s a popular song that anyone who takes piano lessons learns.” I disagreed with him — convinced that this scene has had a bigger impact than he believes.

Overall, Ross was honored and pleased by the warm reception his work received by the packed crowd at the Drive-In. Even after 20 years, the movie (and the piano scene) still strike a chord with viewers.

Ross — who has gone on to write a few other movie classics including Pleasantville and Seabiscuit — is also in town as an official juror for this year’s World Narratives selections at the Tribeca Film Festival. If you should find yourself in the presence of a juror, don’t try asking what movies they might be most looking forward to; if they take their job seriously, it won’t work. I tried.

Ross was gracious enough to talk with us here at, sharing such interesting tidbits as how long it took to outline the movie — exactly one lunch with then neighbor/co-writer Annie Spielberg. Check out the video (with a special Cameo by Zoltar) below.


Reporting by: Lizbeth & Martin
Filming & Edited by: Lillian Young
Produced by: Lizbeth

About Lizbeth

Elizabeth has been a resident of Battery Park City since 1985, where she and her sister were beneficiaries of the neighborhood's first school bus stop. She loves to travel, but loves even more to come home. The Battery Park Esplanade is her favorite neighborhood fixture, where you'll often find her soaking up the sun, rollerblading, or simply enjoying the view.