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Tom Hanks Doubted Forrest Gump, Zemeckis Warned Film Was a ‘Minefield’

With over $678 million at the worldwide box office and six Academy Award wins, including best picture, “Forrest Gump” remains one of Tom Hanks’ biggest sensations even if reception towards the film has turned more divisive in recent years. During a recent New Yorker Live event to promote his new book, “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece,” Hanks admitted he doubted if anyone would care about the 1994 historical fiction epic. “Forrest Gump” director Robert Zemeckis even warned Hanks the film would be “a minefield.”

“I say, ‘Hey Bob, I’ve got a question for you. Is anybody going to care about this movie?’” Hanks said. “This guy sitting on a thing in these goofy shoes and this cuckoo suit with a suitcase full of ‘Curious George’ books and stuff like that…are we doing anything here that is going to make any sense to anybody? And Bob said, ‘It’s a minefield, Tom. It’s a minefield. We may be sowing the seeds of our own destruction. Any footstep we take can be a bouncing Betty that’ll blow our nuts right off.’”

“Bob Zemeckis — God bless him, I’ve worked with him more than once — landed on the absolute truth of anybody who has gone forward and said, we are going to commit something to film today, and eventually we’ll cut this into something,” Hanks added. “You do not know if it is going to work out.”

Hanks, who won the Oscar for best actor thanks to his performance in “Forrest Gump,” revealed on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast last year that ideas for a potential sequel to the film were floated around given its massive success.

“I will say that, with a long time in between, we did take a stab at talking about another ‘Forrest Gump’ that lasted all of 40 minutes,” Hanks said. “And then we never…we said, ‘Guys, come on.’”

“A smart thing I did is I’ve never signed a contract that had a contractual obligation to a sequel,” Hanks added. “I’ve always said, ‘Guys, if there’s a reason to do it, let’s do it. But you guys can’t force me.’ There is that natural inclination that is one of pure commerce that says, ‘Hey, you just had a hit, so do it again and you’ll have a hit.’”

Hanks most recently starred in Sony’s box office hit “A Man Called Otto,” which is now available to stream on Netflix. His book, “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece,” released on May 9.

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