Why Tom Hanks Almost Turned Down Forrest Gump Due to One Character Detail and Why it Almost Cost the Film its Success

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Forrest Gump: A Blockbuster Success

Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump was a true success and garnered six Oscars. At the time of its release in 1994, Forrest Gump became the second highest-grossing film of that year in the United States, with more than 678 million dollars collected and the Full industry endorsement. The feature film received no less than 6 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Direction for Robert Zemeckis, Best Leading Actor for Tom Hanks, and Best Visual Effects.

An Unconvinced Tom Hanks

However, when Hanks was offered the role after John Travolta’s (the first choice) refusal, the actor was totally taken aback when reading Roth’s script and, somewhat miffed, turned his concern over to Robert Zemeckis. This was told by the Oscar winner at an event organized by The New Yorker, about which the Deadline portal reported.

“I told him to Bob (Zemeckis): ‘Listen, I have a question for you: Is anyone going to care about this movie?’” Hanks recalled his initial conversation with the director, to whom he expressed his doubts about the film’s potential, especially for the details of his character that did not convince his protagonist. “We have this man sitting on a bench with these ridiculous shoes and a suit with a suitcase full of books and things like that,” Hanks told the director.

On the other hand, the actor, who had just won his first award from the Hollywood Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Philadelphia, felt that Forrest Gump was going to be a film misunderstood by the audience.

“Are we doing something that someone is going to understand?” he said at the time. Far from reassuring him, Zemeckis told him that he shared his concerns. “He told me: ‘It’s a minefield, we may be sowing the seeds of our self-destruction. Any step we take could hit a bomb.’”

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Coming to a Compromise

Both the actor and director eventually went ahead with the project and received their respective Oscars the following year. In 2020, Hanks had already revealed that when Paramount studios refused to let Zemeckis film Forrest’s “race” across the United States “because it was too expensive,” he decided to finance it himself.

“The studio said, ‘We can’t afford it, you’re not going to do it,’” Hanks recalled. “And Bob said, ‘It’s too much of a part of the movie to cut, we can make this work.’ And they said, ‘No, you can’t.’”

At that point, Hanks and Zemeckis joined forces. “’Bob said, ‘This race is going to cost so many dollars,’ and it wasn’t cheap. ‘You and I are going to split that amount,'” the actor recalled. Hanks agreed, and he and Zemeckis made a deal in which the two paid for the filming of “the race” and, in exchange, Paramount would share certain profits with the duo who collaborated again on the films Castaway, The Polar Express and Pinocchio.

Tom Hanks at Cannes

On Tuesday, the actor made headlines when, with his wife Rita Wilson, had an altercation with one of the organizers of the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival and the images went around the world. Although the protagonists denied the situation, the actor’s absence at the Asteroid City press conference, the Wes Anderson film in which Hanks is a part, did nothing more than shake the hornet’s nest.

“Tom Hanks left the Asteroid photo session City after scolding an employee of the Cannes Film Festival”, he communicated in the media about what happened. The actor’s absence was immediately linked to the incident that Hanks and his wife experienced on Tuesday night, as they walked the red carpet. In the photos you can see the couple discussing with one of the festival organizers, an episode that generated all kinds of rumors that were eventually refuted by Wilson.

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“This is called: ‘I can’t hear you. People are screaming. What did you say? Where are we supposed to go?’” Hanks’ wife wrote on her Instagram account about the capture that circulated in recent hours. “But that doesn’t sell stories! Nice try… Go check out Asteroid City,” she angrily concluded. For her part, Vincent Chapalain, the staff member who was portrayed by the cameras, seconded the actress’s version. “They simply asked me if they should return to the beginning of the carpet with the rest of the film crew and with the screams of the photographers, they needed to speak out loud,” explained the employee who has worked for more than a decade in the organization of the festival.

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