Forrest Gump almost had another run on the big screen, and it would have been quite the tearjerker.
The 1994 Oscar-winning drama was directed by Robert Zemeckis and starredÂ Tom Hanks as the eponymous Alabaman who changed history just about everywhere he went. Following the filmâ€™s blockbuster critical and commercial success, the movieâ€™s brain trust planned to reunite for a sequel. In fact, screenwriter Eric Roth, who nabbed one of the filmâ€™s six Academy Awards for adapting Winton Groomâ€™s novel, filed a completed draft on 10 September, 2001.
â€œLiterally, I turned it in the day before 9/11,â€ Roth told Yahoo Entertainment in an interview (watch above). â€œAnd Tom and I and Bob 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, â€˜This movie has no meaning anymore, in that sense.’â€
Forrest Gump was adapted from Groomâ€™s 1986 novel of the same name. Groom wrote a sequel in 1995Â calledÂ Gump & Co., which tracked Forrestâ€™s adventures through the 1980s. Rothâ€™s proposed film sequel would have been a much looser adaptation of that book.
In our interview, Roth shared new plot details for the movie that never happened, including a revelation that addresses the health status of Forrest Junior (Haley Joel Osment) after the death of his mother, Jenny (Robin Wright), who fell ill with a virus implied to be HIV/AIDS.
â€œIt was gonna start with his little boy having AIDS,â€ said Roth, who recently earned his fifth Oscar nomination for co-writing last yearâ€™s hit musical-drama remake A Star Is Born. â€œAnd people wouldnâ€™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 either angry about the busing, or [their] kids having to go to school with the kid who had AIDS. So there was a big conflict.â€
And like Gump seemingly Quantum Leaped his way from one seminal event to another through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Forrest Gump 2 wouldâ€™ve followed him through real-life events of the 1990s.
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â€œI had him in the back of O.J.â€™s Bronco,â€ Roth said of the infamous 1994 car chase involving O.J. Simpson. â€œHe would look up occasionally, but they didnâ€™t see him in the rear-view mirror, and then heâ€™d pop down.
â€œI had him as a ballroom dancer who was really good, he could do the [rotation] ballroom dancing. And then eventually, as just sort of a charity kind of thing, he danced with Princess Diana.â€
The last detail Roth shared helps explain why the film was scrapped after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
â€œHe meets on a bus a Native American woman and finds his calling, as a Bingo caller on a reservation. And the big event in that, which you could see was diminished only in tragedy, I guess, because itâ€™s the same tragedy, but every day heâ€™d go and wait for his Native American partner.
â€œShe taught nursery school at a government building in Oklahoma City. And he was sitting on the bench waiting for her to have lunch and all the sudden the building behind him blows up. â€¦ So when 9/11 occurred â€¦ everything felt meaningless.â€
Reporting by Kevin Polowy, Yahoo Entertainment