The screenwriter behind the 1994 film Forrest Gump has spilled the tea on what would’ve gone down in the film’s proposed sequel and why it was ultimately scrapped.
In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment on Monday, Eric Roth, who wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award–winning film based on the 1986 Winston Groom novel, said he turned in a draft for the sequel on Sept. 10, 2001.
But on the day of the 9/11 attacks, Roth said he met up with Tom Hanks, who starred in the title role, and Robert Zemeckis, the film’s director, to “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,’” Roth said.
If you’ve seen Forrest Gump, you’ll probably remember all of the pivotal moments in American history Hanks’ character found himself in the middle of, seemingly by happenstance.
Gump meets presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon and fights in the Vietnam War.
Like its predecessor, the proposed sequel would’ve mimicked this trend of putting Gump in historic events, though they seem way more ridiculous when thinking about it in 2019.
“I had him in the back of O.J.’s Bronco,” Roth said, referring to the infamous 1994 car chase between O.J. Simpson and police. “He would look up occasionally, but they didn’t see him in the rearview mirror, and then he’d pop down.”
Roth also said he had written a scene where Gump was a “ballroom dancer who was really good.” This would somehow lead to the main character doing a “sort of a charity kind of thing — he danced with Princess Diana.”
Roth also touched on gloomier aspects of the script, like what would’ve happened to Gump's son, who was played by Haley Joel Osment.
“It was gonna start with his little boy having AIDS,” said Roth. “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 angry about either the busing, or [their] kids having to go to school with the kid who had AIDS. So there was a big conflict.”
In the original film, Jenny Curran (Robin Wright), the longtime love interest of Hanks’ Gump, died from an unknown ailment that many believed was AIDS, though it wasn’t stated in the movie.
Finally, there was one scene that, as Roth explained, seemed to be the final blow as to why the film didn’t get made.
Gump meets a Native American woman on a bus, Roth said, and he finds his calling as “a bingo caller on a reservation.”
The woman was someone who taught nursery school at a government building in Oklahoma city, Roth said.
“And he was sitting on the bench waiting for her to have lunch and all of a sudden the building behind him blows up,” which suggests she was a casualty in the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing.
“So when 9/11 occurred … everything felt meaningless.”