After “Forrest Gump” hit both critically and commercially, Paramount were quick to commission screenwriter Eric Roth to pen a sequel to the 1994 hit. But as the writer explains in an interview with Yahoo!, after the events of September 11, nobody involved – specifically, star Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis – agreed it made sense.
“Literally, I turned it in the day before 9/11,” Roth, who won an Oscar for his adaptation of Winston Groom’s novel, says. “And Tom and I and Bob 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.’”
“Gump & Co”, which tracked Forrest’s adventures through the 1980s, was the inspiration for Roth’s proposed film sequel but it would have been a much looser adaptation of that book.
“It was gonna start with his little boy having AIDS,” said Roth, who recently earned his fifth Oscar nomination 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.”
Forrest would’ve popped up in many famous moments from the 1990’s, according to Roth.
“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.”
The last detail Roth shared helps explain why the film was scrapped after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
“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. 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.”