Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks has revealed that he helped pay for Forrest Gump out of his own pocket. Hanks and Robert Zemeckis ended up in a battle with the studio over the iconic cross country run scene featured in the 1994 classic. But the scene wouldn’t have happened at all of Hanks and Zemeckis hadn’t offered to pay for it themselves.
Tom Hanks was recently a guest on In Depth. Host Graham Bensinger brought up the situation with Forrest Gump. As Hanks tells it, the studio said “we can’t afford it” and wouldn’t allow them to film it. Zemeckis then argued that it was too important to the movie to be cut out. Ultimately, Zemeckis sat down with Hanks to discuss expanding the scope of their partnership, which led to them splitting the additional cost of the scene. Here’s what Hanks had to say about it.
“And [Robert Zemeckis] said ‘Well, this run is going to cost X amount of dollars.’ And it wasn’t cheap. And I said ‘OK’. He said, ‘You and I are going to split that amount, and we’re going to give it back (to Paramount). We’ll give you the money back, but you guys (Paramount) are going to have to share the profits a little bit more.’ Which the studio said ‘Fabulous, great. OK.’ And it was good for us, too.”
This was, amazingly, not the only time it happened. While Tom Hanks wouldn’t reveal which scene forced him to open up his wallet again, Paramount couldn’t get insurance to cover the production. So, Hanks and Zemeckis once again offered to cover the spread.
“They said ‘The weather is such that we can’t get the insurance coverage on it,’ the studio said, ‘So you guys can’t shoot.’ And Bob and I said, ‘We’ll cover the insurance.’ And we did.”
In the end, it all worked out. Forrest Gump earned an incredible $677 million at the global box office, on its way to a Best Picture win at the Oscars. Tom Hanks also won Best Actor that year. As for the profits, Hanks didn’t comment in the interview but it is estimated that he took home around $65 million, given how well the movie performed. A sequel, which contained some rather crazy ideas, was written but ultimately never got off the ground.
Tom Hanks spoke of a different kind of struggle that occurred during production as well. Initially, the actor had trouble with the character. Robert Zemeckis opted to scrap footage from the first three days of filming. It all changed after Hanks and Zemeckis had a conversation about it.
“Bob said, ‘Look, I know what you are trying to do. I know how nervous you are and how self-conscious this can be before we get into the groove. But we’re not going to use any of these first three days because I don’t think you’ve got it. You haven’t got the character.’ And I said, ‘I don’t. I don’t. You’re right.’ And he just said, ‘Don’t try so hard.’ And from that, everything settled down in a moment’s notice.”
This year, Tom Hanks starred in the WWII thriller Greyhound, which ended up debuting on Apple TV+. The actor will be reuniting with Robert Zemeckis again soon, as he has been tapped to play Geppetto in the upcoming live-action Pinocchio remake for Disney. You can check out the full interview clip from Graham Bensinger’s YouTube channel.