Forrest Gump doesn’t have a real story behind it, like, I don’t know, Rocky , with a flesh and blood underdog like Chuck Wepner in which you can see each of the character’s steps in real life. I’m telling you this in case you’re in a hurry or if you haven’t read the lead correctly and you think this is a cheap exercise in clickbait and not a tribute to the character and his construction, taking advantage of his fictitious birthday on June 6 ( born in 1944) .

That said… No, Forrest Gump, the mythical character of Tom Hanks, although he is also an underdoglike Wepner, someone who triumphs against all odds, despite the fact that no one would have ever thought that he would succeed, is not that type of character (someone real who, due to their exceptional nature or their history of overcoming, deserves to be promoted to the category fictional character), but, above all, Forrest Gump is not one of those kinds of stories.Forrest Gump is a fictional story from head to toe, a story that meditates on the end of the 20th century and does it through the eyes of a person who is not cynical, who understands things as they are, without perversions. And for that you need a fictional character who walks between reality.

That’s what the movie is about, nothing more and nothing less. It is not one (another) moving story about a mentally retarded man. Which is not to say that the character of Tom Hanks is not inspired by a real person, in his case, specifically, by two real people, and that some of his adventures – one that you would say make no sense. are based on real events (and we are not referring to the historical moments in which fictional coincidences are always present Gump, Forrest Gump). We refer to the people of flesh and blood on which they are based, incidentally, one more than another, the character of Tom Hanks and in the infamous military body that did exist and that made it possible to imagine that someone like Forrest or Buba could fight in the front line of fire in Vietnam. Let’s go by parts.

The film, as you know, and if not, we’ll tell you, adapts to the cinema the novel of the same name by the writer, Winston Groom, who first devised the fabulous story of an underdog who witnessed historic moments in the United States and then began to build part of the character with bits of his childhood friends: in his way of speaking and in his dreams. That’s where Jimbo Meador fits in. If you read somewhere that Forrest Gump is inspired by the life of Jimbo Meador, stop reading immediately. Is a lie. It is true that Meador dreamed, along with Groom, of one day becoming a shrimp farmer and that he speaks exactly like Gump, Forrest Gump, but because of his easy Alabama accent, his penchant for drawing out words, not because was a case of borderline mental retardation (in English it is defined as quasi-mental retarded).“One of my best friends is a guy named Jimbo Meador,” Groom has repeated over and over again in a thousand and one interviews. “He’s an old friend from Mobile, Alabama. For 20 years he worked as a general manager for a fishing company in Alabama. Although he never farmed shrimp, 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 writing Forrest Gump, ‘What would be better than making Forrest a shrimper?'” The book is dedicated to Meador.

When the film was in pre-production Meador’s peculiar way of speaking came to the fore, and a Hanks voice teacher traveled to Mobile to record Meador so that Hanks could study his voice. In fact, Hanks’ voice in the film and Meador’s are practically the same:

But the voice stays in the category of detail. Forrest Gump is infinitely more than a slow, slurred way of speaking or a southern accent. The Jimbo thing, in the end, is a coincidence in the Paul Auster style, more than an inspiration in the Rocky-Wepner style.

It is like the name of Forrest Gump, taken from a general of the Confederate Army of the Civil War, Nathan Bedford Forrest, a renowned strategist. It’s another one of those blessed movie coincidences. Forrest remembers that one of his ancestors was good old Nathan. Maybe that’s why Forrest survives the Vietnam War…And here we enter into flour. In the book, Forrest also goes to the Vietnam War, but he doesn’t do it in the same glamorously epic way that he does in the movie. There Eric Roth, his screenwriter, was inspired by a real soldier to build Forrest’s feat: Sergeant Sammy Davis, a war hero named after a musician. On November 8, 1967, infinitely slower than Forrest, convinced that the Americans were outnumbered and that it was impossible to survive the attack, he fired point blank at the advancing Vietcong. An enemy mortar exploded nearby, knocking Davis to the ground, but he got up and kept firing. When there were no more bullets left, he tossed out the white phosphorous ammunition.