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Forrest Gump was the rare film that succeeded at the box office while also being a major award winner. With something like that, you can practically hear the studio green-lighting the sequel, but one never happened. However, it turns out a sequel actually came quite close to happening. Eric Roth, who won an Oscar for his screenplay of the original Forrest Gump, actually completed work on a script for a sequel. Unfortunately, the new script had just about the worst possible timing. According to Roth...
Literally, I turned it in the day before 9/11. Tom and I and (director Robert Zemeckis) 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.
Forrest Gump was a movie that was built entirely out of optimism. The main character almost always had a positive outlook and attitude that carried him through life. On 9/11, you can bet that few people were feeling such optimism. Clearly, the team behind the first film looked at this new sequel and just figured the world they were now in was not a place where a Forrest Gump 2 made any sense.
Of course, even if things had gone differently, one has to wonder just how well a sequel to Forrest Gump would have actually worked, because this story was weird. The first film was all about watching Forrest Gump coincidentally find himself part of major historical events, and the sequel would have continued that idea, while moving the story closer to the modern day. This included, as Roth tells Yahoo, somehow making Gump part of the O.J. Simpson murder case.
I had (Forrest) in the back of (O.J. Simpson's) Bronco. He would look up occasionally, but they didn’t see him in the rearview mirror, and then he’d pop down.
Needless to say, putting Forrest Gump in O.J.'s famous white bronco is an...interesting choice. It was certainly a moment that everybody watching the film would remember, but not exactly in the best way. It's not quite the same as watching him report the Watergate break-in.
Forest Gump also had a tendency to have certain skills that made him incredibly good at various activities. In the original movie it was football and table tennis. In the sequel, we would learn that Forrest Gump was an excellent ballroom dancer, a skill which would apparently result in him dancing with Princess Diana at one point.
Forrest would also begin a new relationship in the sequel, with a Native American woman. This would lead to what actually may have been one of the major reasons the script died. It included a sequence that would likely have been viewed very poorly as a post-9/11 movie.
The big event in that, which you could see was only diminished in tragedy, I guess,because it's the same tragedy. Every day he'd go wait for his native American partner. She taught nursery school at, sort of a government building in Oklahoma City. And he was sitting on the bench waiting for her to have lunch, and all of the sudden the building behind him blows up.
Somehow, I feel like the decision to not make a sequel to Forrest Gump was probably the right one, regardless of the reasons why it didn't happen. While enough time may have passed now for moments like these to have a similar impact to the original movie, back in the early 2000's these sorts of things would have been too fresh in our minds. It feels a lot less like the pleasant nostalgia of the first movie a lot more like making references for their own sake.
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