Author

Winston Groom

  • Born March 23, 1944
  • Attended the University of Alabama, A.B. 1965.
  • Military Service: U.S. Army, 1965-67: served in Vietnam, became captain. (Similar to Forrest Gump who also served in the army)
  • Forrest Gump was published in 1986; however, it did not make Groom a best selling author until it was adapted into a film
  • When the book was first released it sold 40,000 copies, but after the movie realease it sold 1.7 million

“Groom thought that the book would be an immediate success, but shockingly to family, friends, and him, the book was not the best-seller that they had all intended it to be.”

  • The Forrest Gump phenonena was being such a huge success that Groom wrote Gumpsims: The Wit and Wisdom of Forrest Gump and Forrest Gump cookbooks.
  • He also wrote a sequal to Forrest Gump called Gump & Co. in 1995. The sequel’s storyline keeps to the storyline of the movie, by having Jenny die
  • Awards: Best fiction award (Southern Library Association), 1980.
  • All of Groom’s characters speak with southern voices
  • Winston Groom was paid $350,000 for the screenplay rights to his novel Forrest Gump and was contracted for a 3% share of the film’s net profits.
  • Groom was not mentioned once in any of the film’s six Oscar-winner speeches.
  • Groom’s sheep dog is named Forrest Gump
  • Groom also used to shrimp and he was obsessed with running at one point, like Forrest

“I will say that I feel flattered that a character I had something to do with is still remembered so fondly.” Winston Groom on Forrest Gump recently being voted the Greatest Film character  of our time in a poll sponsored by ABC News and People magazine.

The Author’s Perspective

When one thinks of adaptions from a novel to movie, a question that may be raised is whether or not the author of  the novel is satisfied with the outcome of the film. Author Winston Groom briefly discussed his reactions to the film Forrest Gump in comparison to his novel.

“In an interview broadcast on CNN, novelist Winston Groom has insisted that he was not troubled by the changes screenwriter Eric Roth made in adapting the book of Forrest Gump for the screen. He would not hesitate, he insisted, to have another of his books adapted by Hollywood.”

Through the numerous alternations in moving the novel Forrest Gump to the cinema, it is surprising that Winston Groom was in fact satisfied with the adaption, even though various scenes and elements of the book had been omitted.

The screenwriter, Eric Roth, had to alter and omit scenes based on a variety of aspects such as financial and time constraints.

Scenes from the Novel that were not shown in the Movie:

  • Forrest Gump becomes a professional wrestler
  • Forrest spends time in a mental hospital
  • He saves Mao-Tse-Tung from drowning
  • He journeys into outer space along side an Ape and a woman
  • Lives with cannibals for 4 years
  • Becomes a very skilled chess player
  • Stars in a movie along side co-star Raquel Welch
  • He Runs for United States Senate

“If your gonna screw up, do it while you’re young. Older you get, the harder it is to bounce back.” – Winston Groom

Inspirations for Forrest Gump Character

“Groom had originally made up this character on stories that his father use to tell him before Groom went to sleep as a child. The stories were about the kindness and soul of this man who was portrayed as an idiot. Did not know a thing in the world, but he knew how to be a kind human being.”

When the filming of Forrest Gump brought Groom into the limelight, he admitted that he had based some of Forrest’s vocal patterns and mannerisms on his boyhood pals Jimbo Meador and George Radcliff, to whom he had dedicated the novel. “There’s more than just a little of Jimbo and George in Forrest Gump,” Groom said affectionately. “These guys are the two biggest idiots I know.” In characteristic fashion, Groom’s friend George Radcliff countered that statement with, “He’s a lying sombitch.”

“One of my best friends is a guy named Jimbo Meador,” said Groom. “He’s an old friend from Mobile, Alabama. For 20 years he worked as the general manager of Bon Secour Fisheries in Alabama. Although he never did any shrimp farming, he was always interested in it, and we used to talk about it a lot. Jimbo knows everything there is to know about shrimp. We used to have lunch about once a week, and it occurred to me after one of these conversations while I was writing Forrest, ‘What better thing to do than make Forrest a shrimp farmer?'”

Other books written by Winston Groom

  • Better Times Than These (1978)
  • As Summers Die (1980)
  • Only (1984, novel)
  • Gone the Sun (1988)
  • Such a Pretty, Pretty Girl (1998)

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