If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching Forrest Gump, you know just how hard it is not to fall in love with the simpleminded, yet well-intentioned, character Tom Hanks portrays. Director Robert Zemeckis teamed up with screenwriter Eric Roth to weave an emotional drama with an element of comedy that the cast and crew executed perfectly.
But, did you know there was supposed to be a sequel to the Oscar-winning film? That’s right. Roth penned an entire second film because of the success of the first, and the details of the film, which are just now coming out, were definitely surprising. Still, the movie never saw daylight for one stunning reason.
Anyone who’s seen Forrest Gump remembers simpleminded Gump sitting patiently on the bus-stop bench, drumming up conversations. But that scene would’ve never made it to the big screen were it not for the film’s little-known source of inspiration.
A man named Winston Groom penned a novel, also called Forrest Gump, about a slow-witted Alabama boy in 1986, and eight years later, in 1994, the movie came out in theaters. But, it strayed from the novel in many ways.
For example, Gump’s thousand-mile run across the United States was something director Robert Zemeckis added in himself. Meanwhile, the film version left out Gump becoming a chess master and astronaut. Moviegoers, however, didn’t seem to mind the omissions.
Forrest Gump immediately became something of a box-office phenomenon after its release. It beat out top-spot The Lion King, and it also earned Hanks one of the most prestigious awards an actor can receive.
Not only did the film itself scoop up six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, but Hanks took home one of those shiny little statues himself for Best Actor. All the buzz over the movie led people to naturally wonder if a sequel was in order.
As it turned out, Winston Groom actually did write a sequel. Even today, many of the biggest Forrest Gump fans have no idea the book exists, as it was written nearly a decade after the first one.
Gump & Co. hit store shelves in 1995, and it basically followed Gump throughout the ’80s, focusing on all the events he not only witnessed but was personally involved with. It also opened with a very meta line that referenced the film.
“Don’t never let nobody make a movie of your life’s story,” the narrator says. “Whether they get it right or wrong, it don’t matter.” So now that the second book was out, it was time to write a much-anticipated screenplay to the sequel, right?
In 2001, writer Eric Roth was contacted to once again put his skills to the test and pump out another box-office hit. Roth knew he had to hit audiences with some bombshells if he wanted another memorable movie, so he wrote the film, and man, it was explosive.
When the screenwriter discussed the sequel in an interview, people were shocked to hear Forrest Jr. had AIDS. Roth also wrote Gump into one of the most memorable American moments from the ’90s.
In Gump 2, he was in the backseat of O.J. Simpson’s White Bronco while the ex-football player fled police. The material Roth used strayed away from the second book more than the first, but he knew Gump would once again enamor audiences.
With the screenplay written, Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks were both equally eager to crank out another smash hit. Little did all three men know, the movie would never see the light of day.
Roth handed the movie studio the final draft of his screenplay on September 10, 2001. That very next morning, before anyone even read a word of it, America suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history. All three men immediately met up to discuss how they’d handle everything.
All three came to a unanimous decision to squash the sequel entirely. America was currently going through its darkest days, so to try to stir enthusiasm up in moviegoers over a new movie felt meaningless. But still, chatter about the film never died.
In 2014, while celebrating Forrest Gump’s twentieth anniversary, Hanks and director Zemeckis both discussed what they pictured Gump doing were a new sequel ever released. Both men wanted him to be the inspiration behind the idea that launched Facebook, but they also each had their own ideas.
Zemeckis wanted Gump to lead the charge to find Osama Bin Laden, and Hanks wanted him to rescue people during Hurricane Katrina. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like the character would ever hit the silver screen again — until something incredible happened.
Bollywood, the enormous movie industry in India, bought up the rights to the next Forrest Gump film from Paramount studios. However, this version wasn’t going to be what the American studio originally planned.
The Bollywood movie — set to film in October 2019 — is actually a remake of the original, not a sequel. Bollywood legend Aamir Khan was cast as Gump and stated in interviews how thrilled he was to bring the character to life in a different light.