The story of a low-IQ guy whose good-natured, God-loving ways get him through some of the most famous events of the 1960s and 1970s was a hard sell in Hollywood. Not many believed that the novel "Forrest Gump" would translate onto the big screen, or that moviegoers would pay to see such a story, until Tom Hanks came along.
Wendy Finerman, who eventually produced the movie after spending nearly a decade developing the project, was fearless in her push to have the movie made. Finerman told The New York Times in an interview
, "People would ask me what I was working on, and I'd say 'Forrest Gump,' and they'd get that glazed look. I knew they were thinking, 'When is she going to give up?'"
Obviously, the perseverance paid off because, in 1994, "Forrest Gump" became one of the most beloved movies in recent history.
A major reason for the movie's box office success was Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump. In her Best Picture Oscar acceptance speech, Finerman thanked Tom Hanks
for giving the title character "a heart."
Here are 10 quotes that talk about what made Forrest Gump such a special character and an iconic role for Tom Hanks.
"I saw an incredibly cinematic story of a man who is inseparable from the events we've all grown up with. In the same way that children can say the most brilliant things, Forrest Gump is able to bring a rare clarity to what we went through in the '50s, '60s, and '70s. He's a remarkable character who is just as good at making you cry as he is at making you laugh."
– Finerman, on reading the 1986 novel "Forrest Gump," according to Turner Classic Movies
"I was absolutely bent. And I thought that if we didn't really screw it up that we could make a movie as good as what was on paper."
– Tom Hanks
, on the screenplay. Finerman had a screenplay written by Eric Roth and shopped it around for a long time before Paramount decided to take a chance, according to TCM.
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"I couldn't imagine anyone else who could play the character (of Forrest). Tom's characterization of Forrest is better than I ever imagined."
– Robert Zemeckis
, "Forrest Gump" director
"Let me say this: bein a idiot is no box of chocolates. People laugh, lose patience, treat you shabby. Now they says folks sposed to be kind to the afflicted, but let me tell you — it ain't always that way. Even so, I got no complaints, cause I reckon I done live a pretty interestin life, so to speak."
– Forrest Gump
, in his opening monologue in the 1986 book written by Winston Groom. The novel's title character is a little more cognizant of the meanness around him.
"I said, 'Look, I played Sally's love interest in a movie. I can't call her up and say, 'Would you want to play my mom in this thing?'"
– Tom Hanks
, on asking Sally Field to play Mama Gump in the movie. Zemeckis was certain she was the right actress for the role, according to TCM.
When it came time to promote the film, studio executives decided to keep it simple and use Hanks' star power. According to TCM, the ad for "Forrest Gump" showed the title character sitting on a park bench and beside him the words, "The world will never be the same once you've seen it through the eyes of Forrest Gump."
"Forrest Gump is a movie heartbreaker of oddball wit and startling grace."
– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
8. Hanks took to Reddit in 2014 to field questions from Internet users
, and her referred to a scene in "Forrest Gump" when asked if any of his movies made him cry.
"When Lt. Dan introduced Forrest to his wife, with his titanium legs, I burst into tears.”
– Tom Hanks
A Reddit poster asked Hanks how far his brother Jim subbed for him during the infamous running scene in the movie.
"In Montana and South Carolina. A few hundred yards in slow-mo."
– Tom Hanks
"I'll be saying 'box of chocolates' again about the same time Sean Connery says, 'I'm Bond, James Bond.' I have to confess, I don't see this as a franchise. A sequel would ruin what we have done."
– Tom Hanks, on filming a "Forrest Gump" sequel, reported Entertainment Weekly
. Groom wrote a 1995 follow-up novel, "Gump and Co.," but no one took a bite on turning it into a movie.
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