Producers Never Told Audiences These Facts About The Film Forrest Gump

Published on 01/29/2020
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The academy award-winning movie Forest Gump is unbelievable in its storyline and symbols throughout, yet there is a lot of information that creators kept from us. However, we are likely so amazed by this film because of a lot of hidden secrets. The film jumpstarted many successful acting careers for celebs like Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Haley Joel Osment, Mykelti Williamson, etc. Keep reading to hear the inside scoop on the legendary film, Forrest Gump.

Peculiar Lost Ping Pong Ball

Usually, it’s more common to assume that computer-generated graphics are less likely to be used in dramas or comedies but this film featured many computer-generated fabrications. Specifically with the well-known ping-pong battles. Even though Tom Hanks is an excellent player on his own, he did receive a bit of assistance. In reality, we aren’t entirely sure how good he was.

Peculiar Lost Ping Pong Ball

Peculiar Lost Ping Pong Ball

The Infamous Checkered Shirt

In ever transitional scene throughout Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks is dressed in a blue-and-white checkered shirt, which is raising questions across fans as to why this shirt is so crucial. It is still unclear why it was put there but many wonder if its to remind her characters of his past as a poor southern boy who managed to make something of himself.

The Infamous Checkered Shirt

The Infamous Checkered Shirt

The Ones Who Said No

This may come as a shock when you hear who the producers offered the lead role to. While they initially wanted big-time actors like John Travolta, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray, they unfortunately declined and led them to ask Tom Hanks. After seeing Forest Gump it is hard to picture these actors in this role. Hanks combined the perfect amounts of humor, seriousness, and talent to the award-winning role.

The Ones Who Said No

The Ones Who Said No

His Debut Role

Forrest Jr. is played by Haley Hoel Osment and this was his first debut role. He is the product of Forrest Gump and Jenny Curran but he is kept a secret from Forest for three years. Before his huge role, Haley was featured in a Pizza Hut Commerical, and after the film went on to appear in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense. He is credited for being one of the greatest young actors of his generation.

His Debut Role

His Debut Role

Sally Field’s Real Age

Another famous actress who contributed to the film’s success was Saly Field. Her role was technically set to be old enough to be Forrest’s mother when in reality she is just 10 years older. They had to make it look like she was older and they did an excellent job. Interestingly, Sally’s script was made up of slogans while help makes the film so striking in our memory.

Sally Field's Real Age

Sally Field’s Real Age

Not What It Seems

You may have thought that the Vietnam War setting was real, but nowadays with the movie technology that we have, anything is possible. The film was shot in Savannah, Georgia, and South Carolina. The addition of the Vietnam War helped strengthen Forest’s character, especially as the opposite of Jenny Curran’s free-living, hippie loving lifestyle. The war also strengthens the plot and helps create more drama and tragedy.

Not What It Seems

Not What It Seems

Shot At Celebrity Life

In reality, a lot of the characters in the film were just random people walking by, like the reporter who was a tourist visiting Washington, DC with his wife. The producers saw him walking by with his family and gave him the lines to read. It was a quick process and this guy probably didn’t expect the movie to become the sensation that it is!

Shot At Celebrity Life

Shot At Celebrity Life

The Infamous Bench

The props used in the film have been on the market for thousands of dollars. In 2013, this bench where Gump launched he “Life is like a box of chocolates,” was auctioned for $25,000 and may even increase.

The Infamous Bench

The Infamous Bench

The Truth Behind Jenny’s Death

Audiences were told that Jenny Curran was sick with a fatal disease but viewers were never told the diagnosis. Due to her background which was spent mostly on the streets and using drugs, it assumed that Jenny suffered from Hepatitis C or HIV. There was less information known about these diseases at the time but they usually developed in people under conditions like Jenny.

Real Cause Of Death

Investments

Amongst all the film’s scenes, some of the ones with the strongest character-building potential are the shrimp boat adventures. The money that was earned from these adventures changed their lives. If you recall, Lieutenant Dan put what he made from the intense Hurricane Carmen shrimp boat to create a whole fleet of shrimp boats. What you may not know is that he also invested this money in Apple, and are no with more than $2.5 billion.

Investments

Investments

They Said No

The producers reached out to several actors like Ice Cube, David Alan Grier, and Dave Chappelle for the role of “Bubba” but they all declined. Chappelle said his decision was because he felt like the film would do well, in the end, he regretted this choice. The popular character of Private Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue, was finally played by Mykelti Williamson. His character was expected to be the senior associate of Bubba Gump Shrimp Company after Vietnam. However, he never returned so instead Lieutenant Dan joined Forest and gave Buba’s share to his mother.

They Said No

They Said No

His Look-Alike

One of the memorable parts of Forest Gump is the “run forest run scene.” This is where Forrest runs away from bullies and ends up running as far as he can, past the most stunning views. You probably missed the fact that it was Tom’s Hanks brother who stared in this scene. Jim Hank is incredibly similar to his brother in appearance and played his double.

His Look Alike

His Look Alike

The Music

The film’s soundtrack came out the same day that the movie was released in theatres. It featured six songs from The Doors, as well as other incredible artists. It landed on #7 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and then moved to #2! With music by Elvis Presley, Duane Eddy, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, and more, this soundtrack was memorable.

The Music

The Music

Transitional Time

The role of Forrest Gump was a huge career-maker for Tom Hanks. While he was usually featured in humorous roles, this allowed him to become a more serious actor. He will always be remembered for this, in particular for how he played it. He brought his self to the character and we can’t think of anyone better to play this part.

Transitional Time

Transitional Time

His Salary

Technically Tom Hanks was never given a paycheck. In his contract, it was written that he was signed up for “points” or a share of the studio’s income from the box office. In other words, this is amazing if the film is a success but if it doesn’t then not so much. The movie brought in $677 million and he earned $40 million. This deal made it worth it for him to promote the film.

Open Wide

Open Wide

His Salary

His Salary

Open Wide

It is uncertain if this was on purpose or not but almost all photos of Forrest Gump are taken with his eyes closed. One theory is that this is because his character does not embrace his success but avoids it instead. Others say it was just a mistake.

Open Wide

Open Wide

Forrest Gump’s Take On The Vietnam War

Forrest Gump’s speech could not be heard in the Vietnam War scene because many people could be offended. The producers were trying to avoid this so did they did what they could. Even though you can’t hear what it says, it said “Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don’t go home at all. That’s a bad thing. That’s all I have to say about that.” Although they are short, they are strong and can get people to think. This speech affects the message of the film.

Forrest Gump's Take On The Vietnam War

Forrest Gump’s Take On The Vietnam War

The Unspoken Scene

In the scene where Forrest asks Jenny to marry him, he tells her how he would be a great husband. However, she responds by telling him that she does not want to marry him. Later in the night, Jenny sneaks into Forrest’s room and tells him how she loves him and they celebrate by making love for the first time. This was the night they conceived Forrest Jr. Audiences are confused if Forrest also got sick with HIV or AIDs is Jenny was sick at the time.

The Unspoken Scene

The Unspoken Scene

Unscripted

Tom Hank’s famous lines “My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump” were initially not part of the script but Zemeckis liked the addition so he kept them. In other work, Tom Hanks has done he has done the same thing. It looks like he has a talent for going off script!

Unscripted

Unscripted

Recognition

Audiences raved about the film Forrest Gump when it was released. So much that it was awarded six Academy Award, one of which was “Best Picture.” Many of us can’t seem to forget those melodramatic moments from the film. There is some controversy around the film but it also is quite emotional, loving, and connects to the audience. Fans even feel like the world could improve with more movies like this one.

Recognition

Recognition

Meeting The Leader Of The Free World

Everything Forrest Gump does is very matter-of-fact. In the scene where he meets the president, he keeps this persona and talks about how the only good thing about meeting the president is simply the food. Whether he is hungry or not he will for sure because it’s free! In every situation, his viewpoint stays the same.

Meeting The Leader Of The Free World

Meeting The Leader Of The Free World

Medal From The President

Tom Hanks is known for being a figure who has made a difference in f history, culture, and the entertainment industry. In 2016 he was one of 21 people who were chosen to receive the Presidental Medal Of Freedom. This is an immense honor for someone to receive. Obama gave this award and then explained that receiving this award is a way of saying that every one of us has the power to change the world. This is exactly what Forrest Gump portrays and why we remember him the way that we do.

Special Medal

Medal From The President

Where His Accent Comes From

One of the major reasons we remember Forrest Gump is because of his accent. His thick southern voice is imitated by many and contributes to the film being one of the most quoted in history. Hanks revealed that this accent came from Michael Connor Humphreys, who played Forrest as a small child. His accent was a deep, prominent, Mississippi accent, and he had trouble imitating Hank’s real accent so instead, Hank’s adapted his.

Where His Accent Comes From

Letting Go

This is a silly mistake that the producers could have easily rendered had they taken the time to look at a calendar. While the said date that Jenny passed away is March 22, 1982, Forrest refers to this day later on in the film as a Saturday morning, when it was not. It doesn’t offer any substantial changes to the film but reminds us that it is a film and not real life.

Letting Go

Letting Go

More Mistakes

The producers bought store-bought shrimp for the scene where Forrest catches shrimp. This is okay because it’s just a prop but they maybe should have played closer attention to the fact that they had no heads! At least buy shrimp that don’t look dead if you’re gonna make them out to be real.

 

What Time Era

Some things in the film don’t exactly match up with the time era it is intended to be. Such as in the scene where Jenny is doing drugs, there is a song playing called “Get Down Tonight” but it actually was released a year after. Also, when Jenny visits Forrest on Fourth Of July in 1976, the Statue of Liberty is shown with a gold torch, which was only added in 1986.

What Time Era

What Time Era

Specifically For The Film

Forrest’s home is set in Greenbow, Alabama and was actually created just for the film. However, it looks as if it has historical value and this is exactly what the builders intended for. After filming, the home was destroyed, which many were angry about. Also, the home was actually built in Georgia.

Specifically For The Film

Specifically For The Film

Honorable Man

Forrest Gump gains a substantial amount of money after he endorses ping pong paddles and he uses it to honor his deceased friend Bubba. He purchases a shrimp point which he names after Bubba and himself. Back in 1995, this Bubba Gump Shrimp Company became a reality, in Monterey, California. The restaurant was very successful and expanded to 10 locations across the world today.

Honorable Man

Honorable Man

No Blinks

There are so many subtle details thrown into Forrest Gump that you probably won’t notice unless you have seen the movies so many times. However, next time you’re watching lookout for Tom Hank’s eyes who are always open when he plays ping pong. When Forrest first learns to play ping-pong, a solider tells him to keep his on the ball. Forrest takes this very literally and does not blink from then on.

No Blinks

No Blinks

She Said No

Many actresses were offered the role of Jenny Curran, such as Demi Moore and Nicole Kidman but they said no. Robin Wright who played Jenny did an excellent job and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

She Said No

She Said No

Good Team

Lieutenant Dan played by Gary Sinise and Tom Hanks worked well together on Forrest Gump and it wasn’t the only time they would work together. They also were co-stars on Apollo 13 and The Green Mile. When Hanks won the AFL Life Achievement Award, Sine felt like he was working with a truly gifted actor.

Good Team

Good Team

Where You Can Be A Tourist

Fans love to visit the landmark that exists from Forrest Gump. Located in southeastern Utah, in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, someone created a sign that says, “Forrest Gump ended his cross-country run at this spot.” Nobody has actually created the infamous Forrest run, but fans are happy to see the sign.

Where You Can Be A Tourist

Where You Can Be A Tourist

Group Of Fans

Forrest Gump has a big fan base in the running community and they love to get tattoos of Forrest Gump or dress up like him. Here you can see a runner who is sporting Forrest Gump after the Boston Marathon and he was probably thinking the classic line “Run Forrest Run!”

Group Of Fans

Group Of Fans

Not Really Crippled

We all remember the epic scene where Lieutenant Dan is saved by Forrest Gump after being injured in war. Lieutenant Dan loses the ability to use his legs and spend the continuity of his life in a wheelchair but in real life, the actor who played him isn’t disabled. When filming he wore a blue fabric over his calves so the digital crew could make look like he was really disabled.

Not Really Crippled

Not Really Crippled

See It For Yourself

The original bench from Forrest Gump was auctioned for $25,000, which you already know. But did you know that you can actually visit it on your own? This bench was symbolic of the film and there were four made for the movie. Paramount pictures donated one of them to the Savannah History Museum In Savannah Georgia when filming finished.

See It For Yourself

See It For Yourself

More Medals

One of the most incredible scenes in the film was when Forrest Gump is given the Medal of Honor from President Lyndon Johnson. While it looks like he is putting the medal around his neck, this is actually real footage from the ceremony where Sammy L. Davis was awarded the Medal of Honor in November 1968. Wow, now that’s some good CGI work!

More Medals

More Medals

It Wasn’t Kurt Russell

Rumors were surfacing that Kurt Russell was the voice of Elvis Presley when young Forrest shows his dances moves to the musician in his home. This was up to interpretation until Peter Dobson finally admitted to being the voice.

It Wasn't Kurt Russell

It Wasn’t Kurt Russell

Made Up Place

In the film, Forrest Gump is raised in the small town of Greenbow, Alabama but this place doesn’t actually exist on the map. It was completely created for the film and is a bit different than the novel. While Greenbow is a figment of imagination, Bayou La Batre is a real place and actually where Bubba Gump Shrimp Company was created.

Made Up Place

Made Up Place

Almost Successful

Gary Sinise is a talented actor but also a musician! In the mid-2000s the actor created his own nearly accomplished band. This was inspired by his Forrest Gump role, and he went on to play many concerts for military veterans.

It Wasn't Kurt Russell

It Wasn’t Kurt Russell

A Second Film

With the first film being extremely successful, normally, there would be a sequel coming. Unfortunately, Tom Hanks was not interested in this. The sequel was in the world for many years but it was delayed for many reasons especially the events of 911.

A Second Film

A Second Film

Memorable Movie

The first time Forrest Gump was released was in 1994 and a few years ago it hit the two-decade mark. “Like a box of chocolates,” this film helps us remember our history and expect the unexpected. The film offers many life lessons that are very subtle but send a strong message.

Memorable Film

Memorable Film

All In The Family

It’s pretty common for actors or moviemakers to have their real-life family involved in their work. Well, if you really pay attention, you’ll be able to see Tom Hanks’ daughter as well as Zemeckis’ son at the beginning of the movie. Hanks’ daughter, Emily, is seen as the red-headed girl who doesn’t allow Forrest a spot on the bus. Then, Alexander, Zemekis’ son does the same thing. They must have had a fun time working with their dads that day!

All In The Family

All In The Family

Meaningful Props

Gary Sinise plays a man who is sure he’s destined to die on the battleground, Lt. Dan. While his story is compelling on screen, there are actually real-life details that make it more profound. For instance, in one scene, you can see Sinise wearing a rosary with a St. Christopher medal that has ‘Protect Us In Combat’ inscribed on it. That isn’t a prop. In fact, it was a real piece of armor worn by Sinise’s brother-in-law during the Vietnam war.

Meaningful Props

Meaningful Props

Off Script

The first time Forrest meets Bubba, Bubba introduces himself by saying, “My given name is Benjamin Buford Blue, but people call me Bubba. Just like one of them ol’ redneck boys. Can you believe that?” After that, Gump just replies, “My name’s Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.” As it turns out, the line was improvised by Hanks, but the director loved it and decided to keep it in the final cut.

Off Script

Off Script

Inspiration

While his run across the country wasn’t inspired by real events, there is one line of dialogue that was inspired by a little kid. It came from a boy named Louis Michael Figueroa. In 1982, the 16-year-old ran from New Jersey to San Francisco to raise money for the American Cancer Society. When people asked him how he managed to do it, he said: “I just put one foot in front of the other. If I get tired, I sleep. When I get hungry, I eat. When I have to go to the bathroom, I go.”

Inspiration

Inspiration

Smile

Hanks does a great job making Gump seem simple yet loveable as we follow him through his life. However, did you pay attention to how his awkwardness continues out of his character? The director wanted to make sure Gump was awkward off-camera as often as he was on it. And so, each time there’s a photo of Forrest in the movie, you can see his eyes are always closed.

Smile

Smile

Not A Runner

Since we already know Tom Hanks wasn’t a runner, those scenes were hard to shoot. However, there was another challenge that the actor overcame while filming his early scenes in the movie. When Forrest was playing football, we saw him playing and running to earn his scholarship. There was one problem. While filming those scenes, Hanks was battling influenza.

Not A Runner

Not A Runner

Character Change

It’s no secret that the movie version of Forrest Gump is very different from the original novel. For instance, in the book, Gump isn’t passive and naive. In fact, he’s a lot more abrasive and cynical. Also, the famous ‘box of chocolates’ line? The original goes something like this: “Let me say this: bei’n a idiot is no box of chocolates. People laugh, lose patience, treat you shabby. Now they says folks s’posed to be kind to the afflicted, but let me tell you – it ain’t always that way.”

Character Change

Character Change

Makeup Use

We’ve seen how the filmmakers used CGI for Gary Sinise’s ‘amputated’ legs. When it comes to Mykelti Williamson and Bubba’s big lips, they decided to do it in a different way. While filming, the makeup team put physical prosthetics to his face to make it appear like his lip was bigger than it really was. This character trait was one of the most redeeming and notable aspects of Bubba. However, this came at a price.

Makeup Use

Makeup Use

Future Trouble

Ten years after Forrest Gump was released, Williamson was complaining about how he had trouble getting work. He thought Hollywood executives we sure he was actually disfigured and that he had an unusually large lip. To clear it all up, the actor made an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman to show the world he didn’t have big lips. Quickly, matters cleared up and he went on to star in shows like 24.

Future Trouble

Future Trouble

The Gump Rescue

Viacom acquired Paramount Pictures and the studio desperately needed a big box office hit. After the purchase, Viacom wanted to see that they made the right choice on the matter. Well, once Forrest Gump was released, they were able to rest easy. The movie made an incredible $678 million from a $55 million budget. Put in today’s rates, it would equal $1.1 billion!

The Gump Rescue

The Gump Rescue

The Library of Congress

Each year, the Library of Congress chooses a series of works to preserve for future generations. This includes movies, songs, or artwork. In 2011, they chose Forrest Gump to be preserved. What does this mean exactly? Well, the US National Film Registry keeps it on record for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The Library Of Congress

The Library Of Congress

Astronaut Gump

While we’ve mentioned that the character of Forrest is different in the book than in the movie, but what about their lives? As it turns out, in the book, Forrest has several different adventures than those we know of. Gump makes time to become an astronaut and go into space! On top of that, he becomes a professional wrestler and chess player. Talk about branching out…

Astronaut Gump

Astronaut Gump

Reference

In the movie, there’s a scene when Lt. Dan tells Forrest that the day he works on a shrimp boat will be the day he becomes an astronaut. This is a very subtle nod to the book that Gump really does become an astronaut. Weirdly enough, Hanks and Gary are reunited in Apollo 13 the very next year, where they both play astronauts.

Reference

Reference

Extras

We all know that Forrest Gump used special effects to create some of the noteworthy scenes. The shot of Forrest looking out to the Washington Monument is one of the most famous examples of CGI. They used over 1,500 extras and positioned them in different places in different clothes. Then, by using technology, they duplicated them and made 1,500 people look like 150,000. Even though this is common today, back then it was revolutionary.

Extras

Extras

The Director

Can you imagine how this movie would have turned out if it starred John Travolta, Dave Chappelle, and was directed by Terry Gilliam? It turns out that Gilliam and Barry Sonnenfeld turned down the chance to direct the movie. It’s crazy to think about how different the movie would have been if these choices were made at the start.

The Director

The Director

Historical Accuracy

Just 90 minutes after reading the script, Tom Hanks called up director Robert Zemeckis to tell him he would play the lead character. However, he had one main concern. The film had to be historically accurate. Zemeckis was determined to make the screenplay as factually and historically accurate. Naturally, the story is fiction, but it still takes place on America’s historical timeline. Hanks then said he wasn’t sure how Southern to make the voice, but the director insisted that he keep it as strong as the novel.

Historical Accuracy

Historical Accuracy

Written In The Stars

Forrest Gump came out in 1994 and became an instant hit. It wasn’t a sure-fire classic, however. This was due to the fact that the movie was competing with some excellent movies. In fact, 1994 is thought to be one of the best years for movies – ever. In addition to Forrest Gump, audiences were treated to Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Lion King. That’s a large amount of good movies in one year.

Written In The Stars

Written In The Stars

Hippies’ Hair

A lot of the extras in the hippie scene were actors from the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Casting director, Ellen Lewis, realized that it would be a great source of performers with longer hair than usual.

Hippies' Hair

Hippies’ Hair

Some Inspiration

Norman Rockwell’s artwork actually inspired the look of Forrest’s hometown. Rockwell was an American painter that was most famous for his cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post, which he did for almost 50 years. He portrayed American culture beautifully.

Some Inspiration

Some Inspiration

Successful Failure

It turns out that Paramount claims Forrest Gump to be a “successful failure”. Despite the movie grossing over $350 million, they still lost $62 million thanks to distributors’ and exhibitors’ high fees as well as the film’s marketing budget. However, the funky bookkeeping also was chalked up as Hollywood accounting, meaning that expenses are inflated to minimize profit sharing.

Successful Failure

Successful Failure

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