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Getting a Jump on 'Gump'?

August 27, 1995|Richard Natale | Richard Natale is a frequent contributor to Calendar

With the recent arrival of Winston Groom's "Gump & Co." in bookstores and Paramount's $2-million purchase of the film rights to the novel, can a "Forrest Gump" sequel be that far away?

"We're nowhere in terms of the movie sequel," says Steve Tisch, one of the Oscar-winning original's producers. "And there's no urgency at the moment."

But according to sources close to Paramount, Groom is already at work on a first draft of a script detailing the continuing adventures of the eponymous wise simpleton. (Neither Paramount nor Wendy Finerman, another of the film's producers, would comment.)

"Forrest Gump" was the biggest film in the studio's history and the third-highest-grossing movie of all time domestically ($330 million), behind "E.T." and "Jurassic Park." Video sales have been gangbusters. Phrases like "Life is like a box of chocolates" and "Stupid is as stupid does" have become part of the vernacular. And the image of a simple man sitting on a park bench has become a part of movie history.

Yet everyone seems to agree that without Tom Hanks, there is no "Gump." Hanks, who as Gump won his second consecutive Oscar for best actor, has publicly dismissed the idea of a sequel. And, Tisch says, without the involvement of director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Eric Roth, "I don't know if Tom would even begin to reconsider."

Sometimes, though, stars and movie-makers do. Although he swore he would never do it, Francis Ford Coppola made sequels to "The Godfather." And though Harrison Ford and director Andy Davis vowed there would not be a sequel to "The Fugitive," because of the nature of the original story, one is being written (neither Ford nor Davis is involved at this point).

Hanks appears to be firm in his resolve.

Says Tisch: "I would tend to believe him. Anything can happen. But going in, Tom and Bob would have to be motivated by more than a check or the promise of fortunes down the road. A great story would help."

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