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Everything we knew about Forrest Gump: Did you know Tom Hanks was not the first choice to play the lead role?

Has Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha been watched? Revisit Forrest Gump then. It was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won six, including best actor for Tom Hanks and best director for Zemeckis.

Everything we knew about Forrest Gump: Did you know Tom Hanks was not the first choice to play the lead role?
A still from Forrest Gump/Twitter
  • S Subhakeerthana

Last Updated: 06.34 AM, Aug 12, 2022

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Laal Singh Chaddha, starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor, was released in theatres on August 11. The film follows the extraordinary journey of a simpleton named Laal as he chases his dreams and love, and is an official adaptation of the 1994 Hollywood feature Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks. The film received a low rating on IMDb, which shocked the creators.

Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan in Laal Singh Chaddha
Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan in Laal Singh Chaddha

On IMDb, Laal Singh Chaddha received a rating of 3.5 out of 12,000 votes. This is very low and according to the site, it is Aamir's lowest-rated project to date. In fact, his major flops Mela, Dhoom 3, and Thugs of Hindostan have higher IMDb ratings than his recently-released film. However, if more votes are cast in favour of the film, the rating on IMDb can be changed.

Aamir Khan in Laal Singh Chaddha poster
Aamir Khan in Laal Singh Chaddha poster

Before the film's release in theatres, a group of internet users started the hashtag #BoycottLaalSinghChaddha on Twitter, urging people not to watch it. Haters are circulating Aamir Khan's controversial "India's growing intolerance" statement from the past, and a few of Kareena's controversial statements, as well.

Aamir Khan
Aamir Khan

For two decades, the adaptation of Forrest Gump underwent many changes. In an interview, Aamir Khan said, "Atul Kulkarni and I were talking one night about 14 years ago. 'What is your favourite film?' he asked; I replied, 'Forrest Gump.' I also mentioned a few others. But then we started talking about this one, and the night was over. He left, and I promptly forgot about it. He called me two weeks later and said, 'I have written a screenplay for you'. 'But you don't write', I said. 'Yeah, but I tried to write it and finished it', he said. 'In two weeks?' I inquired. 'Yes,' he replied. Initially, I didn't take it seriously. But the day I heard Atul's narration, I fell in love with it."

A still from Laal Singh Chaddha/Twitter
A still from Laal Singh Chaddha/Twitter

The Bollywood actor added he found it beautifully done. "How can something as deeply rooted in American culture as Forrest Gump be made in any other culture? I couldn't figure it out. But Atul showed me how to do it. It was his adaptation that convinced me to do it," Aamir stated.

Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks

Forrest Gump was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won six, including best actor for Tom Hanks and best director for Zemeckis. Also featuring Robin Wright, Sally Field and Gary Sinise, the heart-warming 1994 epic was a critical and commercial smash, grossing $ 677 million worldwide, and is based on the novel by Winston Groom.

The film is currently ranked No 31 on the list of all-time highest domestic grosses. It stands $ 4.5 million behind 2010’s Alice in Wonderland at No 30.

An illustration of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
An illustration of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump

Let's look at some of the interesting facts (in no specific order) about Forrest Gump:

  • Tom Hanks was not the first choice for the role of Forrest Gump. It was initially offered to John Travolta, but he declined (a decision he has since said he regrets). Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Sean Penn were also considered for the role but it didn't materialise.
  • Hanks revealed that he agreed to star in the film after reading the script for only an hour and a half. He agreed to play the part on the condition that it be historically accurate.
  • Ice Cube, Dave Chappelle, and David Alan Grier all declined to play Bubba. Chappelle predicted that the film would fail, and Ice Cube refused to play an idiot. Mykelti Williamson was then cast in the role. Chappelle later admitted that he regretted not taking the role and went on to play Hanks' best friend in You've Got Mail (1998).
  • The famous line "Hi my name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump," was ad-libbed by Hanks while filming the scene. Director Robert Zemeckis liked it so much that he included it in the final cut.

  • One thing remains constant as Forrest's age progresses. He wears a plaid blue shirt in the first scene of each transition.
  • Hanks is not a runner, but he had to run a lot for the movie. In the wide shots, his younger brother Jim Hanks filled in for him.
  • Sally Field, who played Forrest's mother, is only ten years older than Hanks.
  • Even though major bands like the Beatles and Rolling Stones were quite popular during the eras portrayed in the film, the director only wanted music from American bands in the film because he knew Forrest would want it that way.

  • Hanks shot against a blue screen with reference markers to depict Gump meeting and shaking the hands of deceased people. Hanks was blended into archival footage using techniques such as image warping, rotoscoping, chroma key, and morphing.
  • Though it is not stated in the film, Jenny dies from Hepatitis C in the early 1970s as a result of her early drug abuse in the book sequel Gump & Co. Until the late 1980s, this was an unknown disease, and doctors had no idea how to treat her.
  • Hanks and Gary Sinise (Lieutenant Dan) have starred in three films together: Forrest Gump (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), and The Green Mile. (1999). All three films were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but only Forrest Gump won.
  • Nicole Kidman, Jodie Foster, and Demi Moore turned down the role of Jenny Curran, which ultimately went to Robin Wright.

  • Greenbow, Alabama is a fictional town created by director Robert Zemeckis to look like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The scene in which young Forrest sits outside the principal's office is based on the painting "The Young Lady with the Shiner."
  • Gary Sinise established a foundation for injured war veterans, which raises $30 million per year, thanks to the success of Lieutenant Dan's character.
  • There was no ball during the ping-pong matches; everything was CGI and animated to meet the actors' paddles.
  • Hanks wasn't paid for the film. He chose percentage points instead, which earned him $40 million.

  • The famous running scene was inspired by a true story. Louis Michael Figueroa, then 16, ran from New Jersey to San Francisco for the American Cancer Society in 1982.
  • The Dr Pepper scene was filmed seven times. With feedback from director Robert Zemeckis, Hanks burped louder and louder each time. "Bob, just be glad they're not coming from the other end," Hanks replied.
  • Jenny (Robin Wright) introduces Forrest to Wesley, her war-protester boyfriend. In The Princess Bride (1987), Wright is also in love with a man named Wesley (Cary Elwes).

  • The film was chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2011 as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
  • After a casting director noticed him in a Pizza Hut commercial, Haley Joel Osment was cast as Forrest Gump Jr. In 1999, he starred in another '90s classic, The Sixth Sense.
  • The park bench where Hanks sat for the majority of Forrest Gump was located at Chippewa Square in historic Savannah, Georgia. For the film, five benches were created. One bench was given to Savannah, one to the Smithsonian, two to Paramount Pictures, and one to a security guard who was on patrol during filming.

  • The film crossed the $250 million mark at the box office in just 68 days. On a $55 million budget, it would gross a total of $677.9 million.
  • Mykelti Williamson (Bubba) wore a prosthetic lower lip to play the role. He later claimed that after the film, he was primarily offered roles in films as a comedic black character, only to be turned down because his lips were too small.
  • Hanks modelled his Southern drawl after Michael Conner Humphreys, who played young Forrest in the film.
  • Jenny performs at the nightclub under the alias Bobbie Dylan. Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" is the song she chooses to sing.

  • The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., created for the film, is now a real restaurant chain with 39 locations worldwide.
  • Forrest Gump went on to win six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Zemeckis), Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Screenplay.
  • Over 12 million copies of the film's soundtrack were sold.
Aamir Khan; Tom Hanks
Aamir Khan; Tom Hanks

Below are the quotes from Forrest Gump that will make you think:

  • Don’t ever let anybody tell you they’re better than you!
  • What’s normal anyway?
  • My mama always said Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.
  • I don’t know if we have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating’ around accidentally-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.
  • When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go, you know, I went.

  • Mama always said, dying was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t.
  • Listen, you promise me something, OK? Just if you’re ever in trouble, don’t be brave. You just run, OK? Just run away.
  • You have to do the best with what God gave you.
  • Now, mama said there’s only so much fortune a man needs… and the rest is just for showing off.
  • My mama always told me that miracles happen every day. Some people don’t think so, but they do.
  • I’m not a smart man. But I know what love is.
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