The classic film Forrest Gump is embedded in cinema history; we will forever utter the famous line, “life is like a box of chocolates” till kingdom come.
Not many folks know that the movie is based on a book written by author Winston Groom in 1986.
Groom was so inspired by Hanks’ portrayal of his initially, idiot savant character that he altered the personality of literary Forrest to fit the lovable oaf Tom Hanks created.
This incarnation of Forrest was the focus of his next book, titled Gump and Co. which was published in 1995. The film did take artistic liberties with the story arc of Jenny Gump, the wife of Forrest and speaker of that other known phrase, “run Forrest, run!”
However, in this version of the story, Jenny is alive though not well. Forrest is dealing with a failing Bubba Gump shrimp business and uncertain future. Jenny eventually passes away, leaving Forrest with a young son.
Despite these setbacks, Gump, as usual, finds himself in extraordinary circumstances, such as: joining the NFL, creating a new formula for Coke and originating a “pig power plant.” Jenny’s ghost also shows up to haunt her husband at one point. Then somehow Forrest ends up in Operation Desert Storm with an orangutan. Mental.
Judging by the tremendous success of the Robert Zemeckis-directed film, why wasn’t this book made into a film by now?
According to an article on Looper, one of the many reasons and probably the most important, was that star Tom Hanks simply didn’t want to do it. Frankly, there is no Forrest Gump without him.