Run Forest, Run! Behind The Scenes Of Forrest Gump

Forrest Meets Lyndon B. Johnson

Forrest met Lyndon B. Johnson when he received his Medal of Honor. Interestingly, that is the real footage from that moment. Of course, it wasn’t footage obtained by the crew. In fact, it comes from the 1968 ceremony of Sammy L. Davis. Davis, who did receive this prestigious award for his service in Vietnam. Hanks’ face was just slapped onto Davis’ body.

A Mock Of War

Forrest is deployed to the war in Vietnam. The magic of Hollywood achieved this surreal and scary time of the sixties. From the muddy ground to the jungles and the swamps, it’s interesting to know how the crew did it. Well, the Vietnam War scene with Forrest actually took place on a golf course on Fripp Island, just off the coast of South Carolina.

The King Of Rock And Roll

There are some truly notable faces in Forrest Gump. One of them was the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. It was hard to see who played him. It was actually Kurt Russel, who actually provided Elvis with his signature voice.  However, his name is nowhere to be found when the credits roll at the end of the movie. Russel also portrayed Elvis in the 1979 made-for-television movie, Elvis. One other well-known person, who was a civil rights activist, was excluded from the movie.

Perfecting The Southern Accent

One of the key characteristics of the kind-hearted character was his famous accent.  Hanks modeled the accent after one of his co-stars in the film, the young Forrest. Even Humphreys would win a Young Artist Award for his role.

Speech, Speech, Speech

A significant and memorable scene was Forrest’s speech, where he stands confidently to deliver an intriguing speech. Then, the microphone cuts out, which was a total shame. Forrest did have something important to say after all. “Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mamas 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”.

Exclusion Of An Activist

From the likes of Elvis to Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, Forrest meets some meaningful characters. However, one famous figure was actually cut from the movie completely — Martin Luther King, Jr. The scene was riot police releasing German Shepherds on Rev. King and his supporters. Forrest then runs in and distracts them with a game of fetch. Robert Zemeckis cut the scene out because people felt it was in bad taste. The cut-scene is available on the special collector’s edition DVD.

Ping Pong Not As It Seemed

We thought Tom was just an amazing ping pong player. However, apparently CGI was able to come up with some convincing illusions even back in 1994.  That ball audiences saw between Forrest and his opponent was never real, it was all the work of CGI.

Lieutenant Dan Illusion

Gary Sinise did a great job of touching the audience’s heart, when his character Lieutenant Dan becomes vulnerable, uncertain, and crippled from the Vietnam War. Sinise sat in a wheelchair and appeared to have no legs. However, the genius digital team behind the film simply had him wear a blue fabric that neatly concealed his lower legs, therefore achieving a very convincing illusion that he’s paralyzed from the waist down.

Bubba Shrimp

Forrest’s close friend, Bubba, had a lifelong dream of being successful in the shrimping business. He even invited Forrest to tag along with him as soon as they were freed from the war. Unfortunately, Bubba doesn’t survive to follow his dream. Nevertheless, his legacy lives on. For any shrimp lovers out there, people can head out to any number of Bubba Gump Co. across numerous locations in the United States. Oh, and there are locations in China too.

The Famous Bench

The bench Forrest sits on waiting for his bus in Savannah, Georgia has become iconic. Once filming ended, many people were curious to know what actually happened to the bench. Officials in Savannah found that the bench would be too much of a treasure to allow it to remain vulnerable to the public eye. So, the bench was placed in the Savannah History Museum.

Clean Adaption

Most people don’t know this, but Forrest Gump is actually based on a book. In the film, Forrests lovable, childlike naivety is pretty different from the novel. Even the ‘box of chocolate’ quote was different too. The quote from the book is as follows “Let me say this: being an idiot is no box of chocolates. People laugh, lose patience, treat you shabby. Now they say folks s’posed to be kind to the afflicted, but let me tell you- it ain’t always that easy”.

More On Bubba Shrimp

Fans can get a taste of the Bubba Gump shrimp in numerous locations around the world. One particular location is in Orlando, Florida, where fans of the movie or shrimp lovers will be in for a special treat when it comes to Bubba’s signature shrimp dishes. Fans can see the actual shrimp boat that appeared in the movie. Inside the actual restaurant are the ping-pong paddles Tom Hanks used in the film, and they’re autographed by the man himself.


A classic scene in the movie was was when he appears on The Dick Cavett Show. Forrest appears alongside Beatle-great, John Lennon, and had just returned from playing ping-pong in China. He appears to help Lennon inspire a song too. Forrest helped inspired the iconic musician to write Imagine. Once again, the impressive digital effects were used to create this scene. The scene was a real one from the show, but for the movie, Yoko Ono was digitally removed and replaced with Hanks.

Run Forrest, Run Forrest, Go Forrest

Forrest’s cross-country run was inspired by a real-life event. At just 16 years old, Louis Michael Figueroa ran all the way across the United States from New Jersey to San Francisco.  In 1982, the teenager set off on foot from his state of New Jersey to raise awareness for the American Cancer Society. When Forrest says the line “When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go the bathroom, I went”, that was the exact same thing Figueroa said during his run.

No Love For the Author

Winston Groom would have been overjoyed to know that his novel inspired such a classic film. The creative minds behind the film said the movie would be poetic as to how much the novel would shape out the overall project. Yet sadly, no one ever recognized the author, not even in the awards speech. Essentially, he never saw a paycheck for his contributions to one of the best films of the nineties.

The Other Forrest Gump

It’s hard to imagine someone that’s not Tom Hanks playing the role of Forrest Gump. Believe it or not, he was not the only choice for the part of Forrest. Some of the actors who were considered for the part were Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and John Travolta. All three actors declined, but we wonder if they regret it now.

Prosthetic Lip

Mykelti Williamson was truly touching as Bubba. Yet it was thanks to the wonders of makeup magic, his lower lip became a piece of movie history whenever he spoke. That jutting lip that was associated with Bubba was just a prosthetic. He even had to be fitted for it, which took quite awhile to perfect. It fooled everyone who’s seen it and many people were shocked when they saw the actor in real life.

No Recognition Whatsoever

Not only did Winston Groom never receive respect for his movie, but many people also failed to recognize that the film was based on Groom’s book. He even wrote a sequel to the book entitled Gump & Co. When the film was re-released for Imax in 2014, it wasn’t shown in Groom’s hometown of Mobile, Alabama. Imagine J.K Rowling never getting recognition for Harry Potter.

Tom Did That?

The movie earned Hanks around $40 million. Yet Groom was paid a mere $350,000 for the screenplay rights. Outside of that, he opted to receive a three percent share of the movie’s net profits. However, the films didn’t make a profit, leaving the author with nothing. That led to a dispute between Groom and Paramount which was settled after they bought the rights for another one of his books.

Peace And Love

The peace rally at Lincoln Memorial was chaotic. Thanks to the clever skills of digital editing, directors were able to expand that crowd to make it look much larger. It took about two days to film the entire scene and thankfully, it was very well done.

Big Regret

Ice Cube and Dave Chappelle turned down the role of Bubba, which was eventually played by Mykelti Williamson. Boy are they kicking themselves now. We aren’t sure Ice cube’s lips would have sufficed.

Family Ties

Both Tom Hanks’ daughter, Emily, and Robert Zemeckis’ son, Alexander, are seen in the school bus scene. She’s the red-haired girl, he’s the first boy who won’t let Forrest sit down.

Ad Lib Genius

Tom Hanks ad-libbed the line “My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump”. Work of genius we might add.

Financial Troubles Nearly Shut The Movie Down

“The studio was one day away from pulling the plug on this one movie I was going to make, and the director came to my house and said, ‘Look, this is going to fall apart because they won’t give us the budget for shooting this one sequence, and we’ve got to have this sequence.” Director Robert Zemeckis proposed that he and Hanks split the cost of shooting that sequence, so that the studio would allow them to make the film they envisioned. “I said, ‘All right.’ And the sequence was Forrest running across the country,” Hanks revealed. “And we were 48 hours away from it being shut down. So I’m glad that worked out.”

Tom Hanks Didn’t Get Paid Upfront

If there is no budget, often the actor foregoes a paycheck and takes a percentage of any profit the film makes. This was the case for Tom Hanks and Forrest Gump, and Hanks’s belief paid off. He made at least $40 million on the movie, and by some estimates, as much as $70 million. According to Box Office Mojo, Forrest Gump made $677,945,399 internationally, on a $55 million production budget.


Jodie Foster, Nicole Kidman, and Demi Moore have had enormously successful careers, so we wonder if they are kicking themselves for turning down the iconic part of Jenny Curran. The role went to Robin Wright. Who knows why so many actors and actresses turned down roles in Forrest Gump. They judged the book by its cover clearly.

Gary Sinise Tours the World in the Lt. Dan Band

Gary Sinise took his iconic character in Forrest Gump and started his own band. The actor plays the bass as part of a 12-piece rock ensemble. Lt. Dan Band performs cover songs at USO shows, entertaining troops. They also raise money for disabled veterans by playing at benefit concerts around the world. How cool is that?