Tom Hanks is one of the most well-recognized and talented actors in Hollywood. He has made a name for himself through massively successful projects like A Man Called Otto, Cast Away, The Terminal, and Saving Private Ryan, establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with through his dedication and skill in his craft. He has also been awarded a number of accolades including being nominated for a number of Academy Awards and winning the same in the category of Best Actor twice for his work in Forrest Gump and Philadelphia.
Having been directed by Robert Zemeckis, Forrest Gump is an incredible, critically acclaimed film with an A-list cast and an impeccable storyline. The film has made a special place in the hearts of many becoming a classic and a perfect example of the film industry at its finest. With this, it is quite interesting to think that this film was almost made by a different director who is known for a very different type of film.
Barry Sonnenfeld Almost Directed Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump
Barry Sonnenfeld is an incredibly well-respected and talented director. Though in recent times he is known through his work in the Men in Black film series one of his most famous works has to be The Addams Family and Addams Family Values. During an interview with Variety, the director revealed that he was initially approached By the producer of Forrest Gump, Gary Lucchesi, who had asked him to read the book that the film was going to be based on.
“Addams Family” was a big success for Paramount, but they didn’t announce a sequel for a while. In the meantime [producer] Gary Lucchesi had sent me this book called “Forrest Gump” and he said read it and tell me we need to do it because I have eight scripts and they’re all terrible. I said, ‘” Let’s change the main character from a big fat guy that’s a really big running back to a thin guy that runs all the time and I’ll send it to Hanks because I had shot ‘Big’ with him.” I said, “You’ll probably not want to do it because it’s similar to ‘Big’ in that it’s another man-child kind of thing.” Hanks loved it.”
Lucchesi’s reasoning behind approaching the director was the fact that he had seen eight different versions of the script and all of them were not good according to him. Sonnenfeld made some changes to the script and sent it to Tom Hanks. He was, however, a little skeptical that the actor would refuse to be part of the film as the plot was quite similar to one of his recent works Big. Fortunately, however, Hanks loved the script and agreed to be part of the movie.
“He signed on, I was signed on to direct it. And then, a year and a half later, Paramount decides to make “Addams Family Values,” so I had a choice between staying with “Forrest Gump” or going back to the very first thing I’d ever directed. I was working on [“For Love or Money”] with Michael J. Fox, and I said, “What should I do?” Michael said, “You set the table with ‘Addams Family,’ now you need to go have dinner.” I loved directing “Addams Family Values.” Christina Ricci and Christine Baranski and Peter MacNicol and Joan Cusack are particularly funny in that film.”
Unfortunately, things took a turn after one of the director’s most successful projects, The Addams Family was green-lit as a sequel, Addams Family Values. After some contemplation and consulting his friend Michael J. Fox, who is best known for his work in Back To The Future, Sonnenfeld Decided that it would be better to stick to the project that he had put in more time and effort into choosing to let go of Hanks’ film and focus his attention on the sequel.
Forrest Gump Was A Massive Success And Barry Sonnenfeld Regretted His Decision
Unfortunately for Barry Sonnenfeld, Forrest Gump became a massively successful film even winning Tom Hanks an Oscar. During this interview with Variety, the director was asked if he ever regretted the decision of picking Addams Family Values over the now Oscar-winning film. He revealed that it took him quite some time to make peace with the decision he made. Elaborating on this he mentioned that he was unable to watch this film for quite a long time. This was until he met with Marty Brest at Danny DeVito’s Christmas party.
“Marty Brest was there and Marty kept getting fired off shows before they were successful or quitting right before they were going into production. I figured Marty would know about this thing that happened. I went to him and he looked at the time like a rabbi and in a rabbinical way he said, “Have you seen the movie?” I said, “No I can’t.” He said, “See the movie. Only then can the healing begin.” So I rented it. It was not the movie I would have made. Maybe mine would have been worse. Maybe it would have been better.”
Brest had been struggling with similar problems to Sonnenfeld so the director decided to seek guidance from him. Brest Asked him to watch the film As it is only after that that true healing will begin for him. Listening to his advice, Sonnenfeld Rented the film and decided to watch it and started thinking about how he would have done things differently and contemplating whether his version of the film would have been as famous as Robert Zemeckis’s version.