Spill Your Scoop!
If you have a story about the filming of Forrest Gump in South Carolina, let us know.
Forrest Gump: Overview
Director – Robert Zemeckis
Cast – Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise
Genre – Comedy, Drama, Romance
Plot – A low-IQ Forrest Gump accidentally takes part in some of the most important historical events of the 50s through the 70s, while his true love, Jenny, still eludes him.
Forrest Gump: SC Locations
The Bayou Le Batre Hospital, which Forrest endows and is renamed the Gump Medical Center, is actually the front exterior of the USC Beaufort Performing Arts Center, located at 801 Carteret Street in downtown Beaufort.
When Forrest goes on his cross-country run, the Woods Memorial Bridge, in downtown Beaufort and the Chowan Creek Bridge between Lady's Island and St. Helena Island both appear in the scenes. In fact, during the shooting, the Chowan Creek Bridge had a sign on it that read: "Welcome to Mississippi."
The Gump boarding house run by Forrest's mother was actually built from scratch on private property in Colleton County and was fully functional. However, since it was built hastily and not to code, it had to be torn down after the shooting.
Bubba's mother's house was actually an existing private residence on Alston Road, near Lucy Point Creek, which is on Lady's Island at the end of Sams Point Road (also SC 802).
The shrimp boat hurricane scene was shot at the Port Royal SC Ports Authority Terminal and used a jet engine to simulate the wind.
The majestic live oak featured in the movie is located at the entrance to the Carolina Shores subdivision, near the end of Carolina Avenue. To get there, you first have to take Bruce K. Smalls Drive, which intersects with US 21 just shy of the Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station.
The majority of water shots involving the shrimp boat were shot on Lucy Point Creek, between Coosaw Island and Lady's Island, near Beaufort.
The grate that young Forrest caught his foot in was located in Varnville. Other scenes shot there include the barber shop scenes, the scene with train going through the city, and Forrest's run down Main Street. (This info was contributed by Frank McClure of Varnville. Thanks, Frank!)
Marie Lawson shares, "The dock on Coosaw Island belonging to Stan and Marie Lawson (known as Coosaw Marine) was Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in the movie. Bubba's mama's house use to be my mama, Marie Tudor's house and various other scenes were shot at Sams Point and Lucy Creek/Coosaw River."
Michael Stankewicz recalls, "I lived in Estill, SC when the movie was filmed. I believe the football field Forrest ran across was at Patrick Henry Academy outside Estill. I was coming home from work one day and they had the street blocked. I asked the cop what was going on. He said they were filming a movie called Forrest Gump."
Forrest Gump: Fun Facts
Forrest's shrimp boat, which he affectionately calls "Jenny," once belonged to local Beaufort shrimper Jimmy Stanley. The boat is now on display at the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Downtown Disney, part of Disneyworld in Orlando.
Bubba's mother was played by Marleena Smalls of Beaufort. Marleena's choir group "The Hallelujah Singers" was also featured in the movie.
Deborah McTeer of Varnville took part in the filming of Forrest Gump. She describes her experience: "As a result of an audition in Charleston, I was chosen for the role of one of the 'bench-sitters' (the one with the small child) to whom Forrest tells his story in Forrest Gump. I was in Savannah, Georgia for a week filming the scenes at the bus stop. Before filming began, however, we met the director, the producers and Tom Hanks. I was struck by how genuinely friendly Hanks was. He consecutively shook hands with everyone and said 'Hi, I'm Tom Hanks,' to each of us in turn, even though we all knew perfectly well who he was."
Tracy Mattox Littlejohn of Georgetown recalls her experience on the set of Forrest Gump. "I was the stand in for Robin Wright when filming was at White Hall Plantation, just south of Charleston. I recall being given a bottle of 'Nitro Cola' from Tom Hanks. He said that it was his favorite and had it flown in for him. I kept it for years a souvenir from the filming. Of course, at that time, no one thought the film would turn into the cultural icon that it has. The working title was Through the Eyes of Forrest Gump. It was an amazing experience. Lots of very fond memories."
Ruby Godley from Beaufort watched several scenes being filmed including those on Lucy Creek. She recalls, "All of the shrimp from Forrest's hurricane shrimping trip were bought from Gay Seafood Company on St. Helena Island. Bob and Hilda Gay Upton's shrimp boat 'Miss Hilda' can be seen tied up at the dock in the film while Forrest is naming his boat 'Jenny'. Bubba also mentions shrimp burgers when listing all the ways to cook shrimp. Shrimp burgers from Bob and Hilda's Shrimp Shack were a favorite of Tom Hanks and the crew during filming."
Jeff Searcy missed out on his chance at stardom when he declined an offer to be an extra in the movie while dining at Bert's in Fairfax. Jeff tells us he had no idea what Forrest Gump was and "thought it must be a B movie" so told the man no thanks. To this day, Jeff regrets his decision as he considers Forrest Gump "the 'BEST' movie I have ever seen." Jeff went on to share, "One of the CSX workers who help build the railroad crossing in Varnville SC said they spent 50 thousand dollars to put in old 1950's style rail road crossings. It's no telling what kind of money was spent to fix up the whole town."
Loren Fink was approached to be an extra while visiting family in South Carolina for the summer. "I was an extra in the now famous school bus scene, where Forrest meets Jenny for the first time. The way they positioned their cameras I was dead center between Forrest and Jenny as they did their dialogue. I remember they used two different school buses to film that. One that really drove and one that was without wheels/axles that was pulled on trailer, by a truck. Also, I was asked if I'd be interested in being a stand in for Forrest since I had dark hair and maybe resembled him a bit, but was a little too tall. I was just turning 14 and was about the oldest on the bus."
Warren Griffith of Greenville shares, "Another interesting fact you might be interested in, my brother, Steven Griffith, who was born in Greenville, SC and currently resides there, played Tex in the movie. He had a lot of great stories working with Tom Hanks and Gary Sinise."
Jennifer Defibaugh, daughter-in-law of Jimmie Stanley, shares that her family owned 'Jenny' during the filming and the following fun facts. "The shrimp boat's owner was Jimmie Lee Stanley, of Beaufort, a local shrimper. The boat was chosen due to its wide sides as the film crew could move easier. Also, it being an older looking shrimp boat helped. The cast and crew loved Jimmie's frogmore stew. They would gather and chow down often. When Gary Sinese came to the [Beaufort] Shrimp Festival years ago, he mentioned in the Beaufort Gazette how he'd love to eat some of Jimmie Stanley's frogmore stew while he was in town."
"Jimmie Stanley's son, James Stanley, known as Jimmy Stanley, gave the production crew the idea to use the back ladder for Lt. Dan to climb. Little Jimmy Stanley, at that time was 16 years old, was going to be the Lt. Dan stunt man for that scene since he climbed the ladder everyday. But it was decided it may be too dangerous and a liability issue."
"The crew had just one shot to get the running into the dock scene right. There was dynamite used and when the 'Jenny' hit the dock, it put a hole in the boat which they had to fix. If you are familiar with that area and Lucy Creek, you'll also notice in the film the boat is going in the wrong direction. It's coming from a way that is not possible due to bridges, etc. They were having to come in and turn around quickly to film those scenes."
"Regarding the 'Jenny' shrimp boat signs, the man who built two smaller replicas of the 'Jenny' traded the replicas for the signs. One of the replica boats sits at Frampton Plantation at Point South's welcome center at I-95 and exit 33."