The ’90s movie essentially starts at the end, with a present-day Forrest telling the story of his life, as he offers a stranger a chocolate and says his now-infamous line: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
However, in a podcast appearance, Hanks revealed that he wasn’t entirely convinced by the decision to start the movie in this way. “I will tell you, in Forrest Gump, all the stuff that we shot on the park bench in Savannah, Georgia, we were just shooting fodder for a possible narrative piece of it,” Hanks told CinemaBlend. “And I said to Bob [Zemeckis], ‘Is anyone going to care about this nut sitting on a [bench]? What is this? No one knows what’s in this [box], I mean…'”
In Forrest Gump, the titular character, played by Hanks, has an IQ of 75 and is considered disabled. He unwittingly partakes in several major popular culture moments throughout history and serves in the Vietnam War, while childhood friend and love interest Jenny Curran weaves in and out of his life.
“We ended up shooting, it was probably like, you know, 13 pages of dialogue that we had to shoot in a day and a half,” Hanks added. “And so it was written on cue cards. I didn’t need the cue cards after a while because you get into it. But Bob says, ‘I don’t know, it’s a minefield, Tom, it’s a minefield. You never know what people are gonna take away from it!’ And it ends up being, you know, that thing.”
Forrest Gump later went on to win six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, while Hanks picked up the accolade for Best Actor. Y’know Hollywood, it’s like a box of chocolates.