Forrest Gump: Screenwriter Reveals Why The Sequel Was Scrapped
Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get. And what we could have had was a sequel to the Oscar-winning 'Forrest Gump' -- but the project was canned for one specific reason.
According to the Forrest Gump screenwriter, Eric Roth, the follow-up to the iconic 1994 was in the works, with a complete draft handed in on Sept. 10, 2001 -- the day before the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City.
"Literally, I turned [a draft script] in the day before 9/11," Roth said in an interview with Yahoo published on Thursday.
"And Tom [Hanks] and I and Bob [director Robert Zemeckis] got together on 9/11 to sort of commiserate about how life was in America and how tragic it was. And we looked at each other and said 'this movie has no meaning anymore' in that sense."
Had it gone ahead, Roth revealed that the film would have been chockas with pop culture references and storylines -- including Forrest dancing with the late Princess Diana as well as the heart-wrenching plotline involving Gump's son, Forrest Jnr.
"It was gonna start with his little boy having AIDS,” said Roth, who recently nabbed his fifth Oscar nom for co-writing A Star Is Born.
“And people wouldn’t go to class with him in Florida. We had a funny sequence where they were [desegregation] busing in Florida at the same time, so people were either angry about the busing, or [their] kids having to go to school with the kid who had AIDS. So there was a big conflict."
He continued that the flick would have been peppered with real events from the '90s which, of course, Forrest would have somehow been involved in.
“I had him in the back of O.J.’s Bronco,” Roth said of the infamous 1994 car chase. “He would look up occasionally, but they didn’t see him in the rear-view mirror, and then he’d pop down."
“I had him as a ballroom dancer who was really good, he could do the [rotation] ballroom dancing. And then eventually, as just sort of a charity kind of thing, he danced with Princess Diana,” he continued.
Elaborating on why he, director Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks decided to scrap the release following 9/11, Roth said:
“He meets on a bus a Native American woman and finds his calling as a Bingo caller on a reservation. And the big event in that, which you could see was diminished only in tragedy, I guess because it’s the same tragedy, but every day he’d go and wait for his Native American partner," he explained.
"She taught nursery school at a government building in Oklahoma City. And he was sitting on the bench waiting for her to have lunch and all the sudden the building behind him blows up. … So when 9/11 occurred … everything felt meaningless.”
Forrest Gump famously cleaned up at the 1995 Academy Awards, scoring six Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Visual Effects, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.