At the time of its release, in 1994, Forest Gump became the second highest-grossing film of that year in the United States, having collected more than $678 million and made the full subscription of the industry. The feature film received no less than 6 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, Best Leading Actor for Tom Hanks, and Best Visual Effects.
With a script by Eric Roth based substantially on the source material – Winston-Groom’s 1986 novel Abnormal – the film captivated audiences and today stands as a feature that audiences enjoy revisiting. However, when Hanks turned down the role offered after John Travolta (his first choice) turned down the role, the actor was completely upset when he read Roth’s script and, somewhat bewildered, transferred his concerns to Robert Zemeckis. This was announced by the Oscar winner in an event organized by The New Yorker, which was reported by Deadline.
Forest Gump was released in 1994 and became the second blockbuster movie of that year, after The Lion King.
“I said 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 doubts about the potential of the film. “Particularly because of his unique character that he didn’t like.” We have him sitting on this bench in these funny shoes and a suit with a suitcase full of books and stuff like that,” Hanks told the filmmaker.
On the other hand, the actor, who just won his first prize from the Hollywood Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Philadelphia, felt that Forest Gump would be a film understood by the audience. “Are we doing something that anyone will understand?” he said at the time. He said that Zemeckis was not at all flattering that he shared his experiences. “He said to me: ‘It is a little boy, let us sow the seeds of our destruction. We could take any step to hit the bomb.”
Tom Hanks and Robin Wright in Forest Gump
Both the actor and the director eventually went through with the plan, and the following year he received his own Oscar. In 2020, Hanks had already revealed that with studio Paramount he had decided not to send Zemecki’s “jump genre” movies to the United States “because it was too expensive” to make them himself. “The studio said, ‘We can’t afford it, you’re not going to do it,'” Hanks recalled. “And Bob said, ‘There’s too much film to cut, we can make this work.'” And they said, “You can’t.”
At that point, Hanks and Zemeckis joined forces. “Bob said, ‘This race costs so many dollars,’ and it wasn’t cheap. ‘You and I split the same amount,'” the actor recalled. Hanks agreed, and he and Zemeckis made a deal in which the two would receive profits for “kindness” and in exchange, Paramount would share some of the profits with the two, who collaborated again on the films Castaway, Polar Express and Pinocchio.