Creating a movie requires a lot of hard work from many people. The finished product is the result of an entire film crew working tirelessly to help create the director’s vision. It truly is a magical experience to watch something that you’ve spent countless hours working on entertain millions of people around the world.
The 1994 movie Forrest Gump was enjoyed by audiences worldwide. It even won Best Picture at the 1995 Academy Awards. But did you know that there were a bunch of secrets kept they hid from us viewers?
Here are 17 fascinating facts about Forrest Gump that will make you fall in love with the movie all over again!
1. Audiences had no idea how much money Tom Hanks made for the role of Forrest. Usually, this is made public by media outlets, but instead of getting paid for acting, he accepted a percentage of the total sales, which earned him about $40 million.
2. In the movie, Forrest falls in love with the sport of ping-pong and becomes quite the skilled player. Tom Hanks, however, was not actually using a ping-pong ball in the scenes; it was all computer animation.
3. Tom Hanks did a stellar job as the lead role of the film, but it turns out that he wasn’t even the first, second or third person to be considered for it. Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and John Travolta were all approached before Hanks. Luckily, Hanks landed the role and ended up winning an Academy Award for Best Actor the following year.
4. Sally Field, who plays Forrest’s mother in the film, was made-up to appear much older than he was since she was playing his elderly parent. In reality, Fields is only 10 years older than Hanks; the makeup department gave her quite the transformation to achieve a greater difference in their ages.
5. Because Tom Hanks was offered the role instead of Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, two well-known comedic actors, Hanks was able to finally transition from strictly comedic roles to more serious dramatic ones. This worked out perfectly because Hanks nailed the character of Forrest.
6. In every single one of the transitioning scenes when Forrest is sitting at the bus stop and telling the other passengers his stories, he is wearing a blue checkered shirt. Although it’s not known whether this was intentional or not, audiences wondered if there was a deeper meaning behind it.
7. Throughout the film, if you pay attention to all of the photos of Forrest in the newspapers and magazines, you’ll notice his eyes are always closed. This is very unusual for lead actors to do, but Hanks probably did it on purpose to add to his character’s quirks.
8. During the scene where Forrest speaks at the Washington D.C. rally regarding the Vietnam War, his microphone is not audible at first. The director purposely wanted audiences not to hear what he said, but these were his actual words: “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.”
9. When Forrest first meets Bubba on the bus, he says the line, “My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.” This line was improvised by Hanks, and the director loved it so much that he kept it in the final version.
10. The actor who plays Forrest’s son the film was Haley Joel Osment, the same actor from the blockbuster film The Sixth Sense several years later. He was extraordinarily natural in both, but few people know that he had already been in several movies prior to Forrest Gump.
11. Shortly after the scene where Forrest travels to the Vietnam march in Washington D.C., he speaks briefly with a reporter. The person who played the reporter was actually just a tourist that happened to be in the area when the crew was filming. The director gave him the script to read, and he did it perfectly.
When you are filming a movie that requires a lot of additional people to be background extras, casting directors will usually put an ad out that attracts hundreds of hopeful actors. But, sometimes, using real-life people you find off the street works even better.
12. Forrest’s good friend Lieutenant Dan, played by Gary Sinise, loses his legs early on in the film during one of the war scenes; for the rest of the movie, he is in a wheelchair. Special effects coordinators covered his legs in a blue nylon material so they could digitally remove them easily.
13. For the scene where President Lyndon Johnson awards Forrest the Medal of Honor, Hanks’s face was digitally superimposed on the body of Sammy L. Davis, the actual soldier who was presented with the medal in the footage.
14. The actor who played Forrest’s best friend Bubba, Mykelti Williamson, was not the first choice for the role. It was initially offered to both Ice Cube and Dave Chappelle. The two thought the movie was bound to fail and turned the role down. They both regretted the decision after seeing how wildly successful the film’s release was.
Here is another great example of actors reading a script and doubting the director’s vision. The role of Bubba was a very interesting one, but clearly not interesting enough for Ice Cube or Dave Chappelle.
15. The voice of Elvis Presley in the film was done by Hollywood star Kurt Russell. According to some sources, Russell was never acknowledged for his contribution, which may have been frustrating based on how successful the film was.
16. During the famous scene where Forrest runs across the country, the line he speaks where he describes his cross-country process was inspired by an actual 16-year-old boy named Louis Michael Figueroa, who ran from San Francisco to New Jersey to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The inspired words were, “I just put one foot in front of the other. When I get tired I sleep. When I get hungry I eat. When I have to go to the bathroom, I go.”
There are plenty of scenes in movies that are inspired by real-life events. The audience probably doesn’t even realize it most of the time, but it gives an extra bit of realism to a film that viewers appreciate. Pictured: Louis Michael Figueroa, now age 53.
17. During the scene where Jenny was playing guitar onstage, the actor, Robin Wright, was suffering from a terrible cold. However, she powered through the 24-hour nonstop shoot and even sang her own song while being almost completely naked the entire time. Now, that’s dedication!
Now, the next time you watch Forrest Gump, you’ll probably view it a little differently. Knowing that the director filled it with little secrets makes it that much more amazing of a movie!