One of the most legendary films in history is Forrest Gump. It marks the career beginnings of many of our favorite actors: Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Haley Joel Osment, Mykelti Williamson, etc. Many of us have watched this film several times. However, there are still a few fun facts about this movie that the producers hid from viewers.
Remunerations for movie actors are often a fixed number, but not for Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. Under his contract, Tom Hanks can take away a percentage of the studio’s take of box-office revenues. With the huge success of the movie, Tom Hanks received a lot of money – more than $40 million dollars under the terms of his contract.
Actually, Tom Hanks was not the number one choice. The producers contacted several other famous stars for the starring role in Forrest Gump, including John Travolta, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray. They all turned down the role before the producers contacted Tom Hanks and Tom said yes. The same story also happened with the character “Bubba” where the role was first turned down by Ice Cube, David Alan Grier, and Dave Chappelle.
Even though Tom Hanks is such a great actor, there are things that he cannot handle himself – namely those world-class ping pong games. We’d guess that Tom Hanks may have had some fun ping-pong battles, but he could never simply become a world-class ping-pong player for a movie. Therefore, the producers tried CGI (computer-generated imagery). So, in the movie, all the balls flying and bouncing between Forrest and his opponents were created by CGI.
The fame of Forrest Gump not only created a boost for producers and actors, but also props used in the movie. Still remember the bench where “life is like a box of chocolates” was created? The bench now promptly became one of the most expensive benches in the world. It was auctioned at $25,000 at an auction in 2013.
In the movie, Jenny Curran tragically died from an unknown disease. In the sequel book “Gump & Co”, the author revealed that the mystery disease that caused Jenny’s death was Hepatitis C in the early 1970s. However, Hepatitis C was only discovered in 1989. Therefore, even the doctors in the movie did not know the virus.
Hard to believe, but Forrest Gump closed his eyes in every single photo in the movie. What was it for? Nobody except Tom Hanks knows but perhaps it has something to do with the idea that Forrest never embraced his fame, so he shut it all out.
Every viewer loved cute Haley Joel Osment, who played the son of Forrest Gump and Jenny Curran in the movie. Before taking the role on his film debut, Haley had only been seen in a Pizza Hut commercial. Due to the success of the film, he was named as “one of the best young actors of his generation.” Haley since appeared in several movies and TV series including The Sixth Sense, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Murphy Brown.
Sally Field played Forrest’s mother in the film. Guess how old she actually was? She was only 10 years older than Tom Hanks. It was the magic of make-up that created her aged look.
One of the most touching scenes in the movie is when Forrest receives his Medal of Honor from the President Johnson for bravery in the Vietnam War. Guess what? The scene was indeed a real footage. It comes from a ceremony in 1968 where Sammy L. Davis received his award for his service in Vietnam. The producers slapped Hanks’s face onto Davis’s face in the movie.
In the movie, part of the earnings from the epic Hurricane Carmen shrimp-boat were invested into a “some kind of fruit company”. Of course! The “fruit company” was Apple Company Inc. and at the time of the investment, Apple Company had not even gone public. Nowadays, such investments are worth more than $2.5 billion!
Obviously, the cast did not go on location to shoot those Vietnam scenes. The producers created the Vietnam War settings in Savannah, Georgia and in South Carolina.
Most viewers were left impressed by Tom Hanks’s distinct Alabama accent. Born in California, Tom Hanks does not have a natural Alabama accent. The accent was actually modelled from Michael Conner Humphreys, who played the role of Young Forrest in the movie.
13. The Fake Lip
It’s amazing what exactly make-up can do in movies. Remember Bubba’s lips? That was actually created by Hollywood magic. The jutting lip we have in the movie was a prosthetic fixing to Mykelti Williamson. So, don’t be surprised if you see Mykelti in real life without the signature lips.
Almost every movie has historical inaccuracies, and so does Forrest Gump. In the film, Forrest states that he had been running for three years and two months. Let’s think about this closely. The date he started was the same day that President Carter collapsed (October 1, 1979). The time he receives Jenny’s letter was when after the assassination attempt of President Reagan (March 30, 1981). So, the run only lasted for a year and a half.
In the movie, there was a scene where Forrest was interviewed by a reporter in D.C. Actually, the reporter was simply a tourist together with his wife who happened to be in D.C when the film was being shot.