Tom Hanks makes surprising Forrest Gump revelation: 'I had the flu'

Tom Hanks attends the
Tom Hanks attends the "A Man Called Otto" New York Screening (Getty Images)

He’s famed for his timeless classics that have won the hearts of fans worldwide since he shot to fame in 1984’s epic rom-com Splash. Now Oscar winner Tom Hanks, 67, has given extraordinary insight into behind-the-scenes tales from his most memorable films from Big to Forrest Gump.

He brought the intimate audience to a standstill during his epic ‘In Conversation with Tom Hanks’ at the Prince Edward theatre in London’s Soho on Sunday night, when he opened up about his much-loved character Forrest, and his incredible work ethic during the movie.

Leaving fans stunned by his confession, he revealed he was actually sick during takes for his most iconic scenes.

Tom Hanks played Forrest Gump in the hit movie
Tom Hanks played Forrest Gump in the hit movie

Sharing a secret memory from the 1994 classic, he said: “Here’s a true story. When I was filming Forrest, I showed up one day and I had the flu. They told me, 'Ahh that’s too bad you’ve got the flu, we're sorry to hear that Tom. We're sorry because you’ve got a whole lot of running to do today. Run, run, run, run, run.' He smiled: “Yeah, that was tough.“ adding; “Well, show up, and be on time. That’s my motto.”

Tom gave insight into how he knew he was a writer - when he confronted a very famous director about a key scene in Sleepless in Seatle that was pivotal to the movie.

The 1993 film was about a recently widowed man's son who called a talk show to get a date for his father. However, Tom revealed, had he not spoken out, that mind-blowing storyline may never have happened.

He said: “I will tell you this story about how I found out I was a writer. I did not know this, until then. I was complaining to the director, about a moment that I thought was terrible in a movie. The director was Nora Ephron, and the movie was Sleepless in Seattle.

"So Sleepless and Seattle was written by Nora and her sister. They had written this story about a guy with a son, and the son heard this lady on the radio and he wanted his dad to marry her. There was a scene in which the dad was going to go on a date with a woman he knew, but they decided the son did not want him to go out, and they made a big stink about it. In their draft of it, he did not go out on the date with the lady that he knew - because his son would be too upset.

"I said ‘Nora, you are out of your [expletive] mind. You think some guy is not going to go out on a date, because the son is upset. You are women, you are not men, and dads don’t put up with that [expletive]. There’s no way a father is not going out on a date, because you know why? If he has the slimmest chance of getting laid, he is going to go on that date. While we were talking and I was making them laugh, and they put it in the movie."

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Tom also talked about what really happened when he filmed the iconic moment of dancing on the giant piano in 1988’s BIG, and performed the rap from the film that had the whole audience toe-tapping.

“Let me leave you with a story about that. So the director Penny Marshall, long may her eternal memory rest, said ‘So are you ready for jumping on the piano?’

Tom continued; “You stepped on the piano and the keys lit up, that's what you heard. That dance that was choreographed, which we shot all afternoon, it was like doing jumping jacks. For a minute and a half at a time. It was back-breaking. It went on and on and on.  And here’s the thing.

Has Tom Hanks won an Oscar?

Tom Hanks With 'Philadelphia' Oscar
Tom Hanks with his first Oscar for Philadelphia (Getty Images)

Tom Hanks is such a successful and prolific actor that the question shouldn't be, 'Has Tom Hanks won an Oscar?', but more like, 'How many?' The actor has won not one but two Academy Awards for his roles in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, which he won over two consecutive years in 1994 and 1995. He was also nominated for Saving Private Ryan, Big, Cast Away and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. The actor has plenty of awards under his belt, as he was also the recipient of seven Emmy awards and five Golden Globes awards, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

“My pants were really tight and you can see it on the internet when my legs were all spread out. It’s because my package was so wedged. We thought we were just jumping around on the piano for a little bit, but it ended up being a bit of a lovely thing."

The actor opened up about the iconic movie
The actor opened up about the iconic movie

Tom then went on to treat fans to a rendition of his Big Rap -  Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop – as his parting gift.

Tom revealed he could not take credit for it ending up in the movie. The proud dad-of-four said: “This is how things happen. We were rehearsing this bit, we had Billie and me, and we were trying to figure out I was big, and he was small, and we were trying to come up with a scene in which I was trying to convince him that I was me, Big, and he had to believe it.  We had all these different versions with references to people in La La land, but nothing was really working. Then my son Colin, whose an actor and directs,  he had just been to a place called Sports Plus Camp in the summer-time. He came back and taught me that. That chant.

Tom opened up about his role in BIG
Tom opened up about his role in BIG

“So I went on set and said why don’t we just do this. What if I start this and he knew it as well, and that proves that … And Penny said, ‘Well let’s Do that.’ “

Tom was promoting his Sunday Times best-selling book ‘Tom Hanks, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece.’