Tom Hanks Explains Why He Had Reservations About Forrest Gump’s Iconic Bench Scenes

“Is anyone going to care about this nut sitting on a [bench]?”
Tom Hanks won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Forrest Gump.
Tom Hanks won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Forrest Gump.
Sunset Boulevard via Getty Images

The sight of Forrest Gump sat on a bench is one of cinema’s truly iconic images, but Tom Hanks has revealed he really wasn’t sure that the scenes would work.

Almost three decades since the Oscar-winning movie was released, the actor has admitted that he didn’t think viewers would be interested in scenes that feature his character regaling strangers with tales about his incredible life.

In fact, Tom didn’t even think they’d make the final cut, let alone make the film’s poster.

Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump
Paramount

“I will tell you, in Forrest Gump, all the stuff that we shot on the park bench in Savannah, Georgia, we were just shooting fodder for a possible narrative piece of it,” Tom told CinemaBlend.

“And I said to Bob [Zemeckis, the director], ‘Is anyone going to care about this nut sitting on a [bench]? What is this? No one knows what’s in this [box] I mean’.”

Tom Hanks filming Forrest Gump in 1994 with director Robert Zemeckis. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Getty Images)
Tom Hanks filming Forrest Gump in 1994 with director Robert Zemeckis. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Getty Images)
Sunset Boulevard via Getty Images

He continued: “We ended up shooting, it was probably like, you know, 13 pages of dialogue that we had to shoot in a day and a half.

“It was written on cue cards, [and] I didn’t need the cue cards after a while because you get into it.

“But Bob says, ‘I don’t know, it’s a minefield, Tom, it’s a minefield. You never know what people are gonna take away from it’. And it ends up being, you know, that thing’.”

The film, which was adapted from the then little-known novel of the same name by Winston Groom, went on to become the highest-grossing movie of 1994, earning $678.2 million worldwide.

It was also nominated for 13 Oscars, winning six for Best Picture, Best Actor (Hanks), Best Director (Robert Zemeckis), Best Adapted Screenplay (Eric Roth), Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects.

Tom can currently be seen on the big screen portraying Colonel Tom Parker in Elvis.

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