[Quick Summary: A good natured, but not so intelligent man participates in many important historical events of the 20th Century, but all he longs for is his childhood friend Jenny.]
What do you do when a string of writers before you can't crack an adaption?
If you were Eric Roth writing Forrest Gump, you figure out that the key was tone.
Tone is a dashed difficult thing to define. I'm not sure I can either, but in this script, it's the "wink & a nod".
Forrest is always in the middle of history making events & meeting famous people, but he never realizes it...but the AUDIENCE knows.
ex. Forrest runs along a river, & sees a civil rights march. Police let loose their dogs, who grew up with Forrest. The dogs are about to attack the marchers, but Forrest calls them to go home. Forrest apologizes to Martin Luther King, Jr. for the interruption.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: The tone is light & hopeful, though the events are often heavy. This is Forrest Gump in a nutshell & makes you want to see him succeed.
(BTW, Robert Zemeckis, the director, said he kept turning the pages because he couldn't stop wondering what would happen next to Forrest.)
Forrest Gump (1994)
by Eric Roth