It’s hard to believe Forrest Gump came close to not getting made. The film went through several re-writes, and was extremely difficult to cast. Warner Bros. spent years developing the project, but decided to walk away because executives felt Forrest Gump was too similar to 1988’s Academy Award winning film Rain Man. And that's not even the strangest of these weird facts about Forrest Gump.
Thankfully, Paramount Pictures bought the rights to the project, the script came together beautifully (it won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay), and the casting was pretty much perfect (Tom Hanks took home the Academy Award for Best Actor). In celebration of the picture AFI called the 76th Greatest American Film of all time, this list puts together a jumbo shrimp bucket worth of fascinating Forrest Gump behind the scenes tales to share with friends and family who hold the film near and dear their hearts.
Imagine John Travolta as Forrest. Jodie Foster as Jenny Curran. Weird right? It’s nearly impossible to see any other actors besides Tom Hanks and Robin Wright in those iconic roles. You won’t believe all the big name stars who passed on parts in the film. You’ll also be shocked to learn which legendary rapper auditioned for shrimp-loving Bubba.
Check out all those Forrest Gump facts and more. Know a few weird facts about Forrest Gump that didn’t make the list, let us know in the comments section below.
Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis Saved the Production by Paying for the Running Scenes
During an interview with Yahoo Movies, Hanks explained how close Forrest Gump came to getting shut down because of financial issues.
"The studio was one day away from pulling the plug on this one movie I was going to make, and the director came to my house and said, ‘Look, this is going to fall apart because they won’t give us the budget for shooting this one sequence, and we’ve got to have this sequence."
Director Robert Zemeckis proposed that he and Hanks split the cost of shooting that sequence, so that the studio would allow them to make the film they envisioned.
"I said, ‘All right.’ And the sequence was Forrest running across the country," Hanks revealed. "And we were 48 hours away from it being shut down. So I’m glad that worked out."
The running-across-the-country sequences contain perhaps the most iconic images in a movie filled with iconic imagery. It's Forrest's way of responding to Jenny leaving him. He was told by her at a young age to run away from danger, and that's exactly what Forrest does as an adult.
Tom Hanks Didn't Get Paid Upfront, But Made at Least $30 Million on the Back EndPhoto: Paramount Pictures
If an actor really believes in a project, sometimes he or she foregoes a paycheck and takes a percentage of any profit the film makes. Such was the case for Tom Hanks and Forrest Gump, and Hanks's belief paid off. He made at least $31 million on the movie, and by some estimates, as much as $70 million. According to Box Office Mojo, Forrest Gump made $677,945,399 internationally, on a $55 million production budget.
Jenny Died from Hepatitis C
Jenny tells Forrest, "I have some virus, and the doctors, they don't know what it is, and there isn't anything they can do about it." The movie never specifically states which "virus" Jenny has. We know that she was a drug addict in the 1970s, and Hepatitis C was not really known in the medical community until the late 1980s. Confirmation of this theory came in Winston Groom's sequel Gump & Co.
Tupac Shakur Auditioned for the Role of Bubba
Tupac Shakur will always be first and foremost remembered as one of the great hip hop artists, but he was also a successful actor. Before Forrest Gump was released in 1994, Tupac appeared in Juice, Poetic Justice, and Above the Rim. The rapper's wife, Keisha Morris, told UPROXX she and Tupac went to see Forrest Gump on their first date.
"We went to the Chelsea Movie Theater to see Forrest Gump and then we ate dinner around the corner in an Italian restaurant." She added, "He wanted to see Forrest Gump because he read for the part of Bubba."