"Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get!"
Yes, ever since Forrest Gump hit cinemas way back in 1994, this epic quote has been triggering uncontrollable emotions in audiences all over the world. And being riddled with iconic moments, the movie has long held the power to make the burliest of men weep and even the most cynical of us crack a smile. Like, when the little guy inspires Elvis with his erratic knee-jerks in this gem of a scene, for example:
Indeed, Forrest Gump continues to leave a lasting impression on us even after all these years. Yet, how much do you really know about the film? Check out the following 15 facts below to get up to date:
1. John Travolta, Bill Murray and Chevy Chase were originally considered for the role
Alongside this, according to the original author of the book, Winston Groom, John Goodman would also have made the perfect Forrest Gump.
Thankfully though, the coveted role went to Tom Hanks and we wouldn't have it any other way.
2. Tom Hanks wasn't actually paid for the film
Instead, he allegedly took percentage points from the box office. In the end, due to the incredible success of the movie, he raked in a huge $40 million. Not bad!
3. He modelled his accent on the young boy who played him in the movie
Yep, instead of training a young Michael Connor Humpreys to align himself to his accent, Tom Hanks fine-tuned his own way of speaking to how the boy spoke. Late last year, he described the process on British talk-show The Graham Norton Show:
4. The ball during the ping pong tournament was added in later with CGI
You didn't think it was actually real, did you? Tom Hanks is good but he's not that good!
5. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is the real deal these days
Yep, it actually exists and has branches in 39 worldwide locations ranging from Japan to the US and UK, and all the way to Indonesia; all inspired by Forrest and Lieutenant Dan's shrimp emporium.
6. Tom Hanks isn't a great runner
And considering he had to do quite a bit of running in the movie, he got his younger brother Jim on board to be his body double in the epic, wide shots.
Interestingly, these scenes were also drawn from an actual event back in 1982 when Louis Michael Figueroa ran from New Jersey to San Francisco at the young age of 16. This young man was the ultimate inspiration for the quote:
"When I get tired I sleep. When I get hungry I eat. When I have to go to the bathroom, I go."
7. Gary Sinise had to wear blue tights in his wheelchair scenes
That's so that they could digitally remove his legs at a later stage.
The special wheelchair was also specially designed by magician Ricky Jay, who worked on creating an illusion to hide the actor's legs with a hidden platform underneath. Apparently, this made the wheelchair so difficult to sit in that Sinise could only do so for approximately 10 minutes at a time.
8. One iconic line was actually ad-libbed
When Forrest meets Bubba, he introduces himself with the line:
"My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.'
And while many of us might think this was scripted, the line was actually improvised on the spot by Tom; the director loved it so much he decided to keep it in.
9. Whenever time goes forward, Forrest wears a similar shirt
In the first scene of each transition, he wears a blue plaid one.
And even when Forrest's little boy — played by child star Haley Joel Osment — goes to get on the school bus at the end of the movie, he is wearing a similar shirt to that which his dad wore as a kid. Yup, it all comes full circle.
10. Dave Chappelle was offered the Bubba role but turned it down
The actor and comedian regarded it as too racially demeaning so the role was given to Mykelti Williamson.
Understandably, Chappelle regretted the choice soon after seeing how wildly successful the movie became; it managed to pass the $250 million mark at the box office just 66 days after its release. Impressive!
11. Jodie Foster, Nicole Kidman and Demi Moore all turned down the role of Jenny Curran
And I bet they regretted that too!
12. The scene where little Jenny throws stones at her house is almost identical to a famous painting
The moment is incredibly similar to that captured in Andrew Wyeth's 1948 painting "Christina's World." Here's the scene:
13. The pair of sneakers Jenny gives to Forrest are Nike's 1974 Cortez shoes
The sneaker is now considered one of the company's most iconic shoes, all thanks to its prominent feature in Forrest Gump.
14. The original book differs hugely to the movie adaptation
For starters, in the book, Tom goes up into space, smokes weed, comes face to face with cannibals, runs for the US Senate, and plays in a chess tournament. Physically, he's also described as being 240 pounds heavy and 6'6" tall — perhaps this is why the author, Winston Groom, wanted John Goodman for the role?
15. Only music created by American bands appears in the movie
Indeed, all the 32 songs of the official soundtrack were composed and performed by American bands, with The Doors featuring heavily in particular. The movie's executive music producer, Joel Sill, once spoke of the relevance of this to The Los Angeles Daily News, saying:
“Bob [Zemeckis] felt strongly about it. He felt Forrest wouldn’t buy anything but American.”
Having said that though, British-produced Fleetwood Mac contributed a tune to the 2001 special edition release and it immediately became a sell-out single.