“Forrest Gump” hit the theaters two decades ago and won six Academy Awards, as well as Best Director for Robert Zemeckis and Best Actor for Tom Hanks. Michael Conner Humphreys, the child actor who played young Forrest in leg braces, was offered the chance to buy tickets to Oscars as well. However, seeing how his parents were unable to come up with the money, they had to watch it on TV.
Michael recalls the experience just a few days before 2015’s Academy Awards, as he tells Daily Mail.
“I was eight when this all went down, but my parents were asked if they wanted to buy an Oscar ticket and they couldn’t afford it,” he said. “The tickets were going to cost a lot of money, so we decided to just watch it on TV like everyone else. At the time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go or not, but it would be a different situation now. I would try and go. As an eight-year-old I didn’t mind, that’s the perspective, I guess, of a child.”
Now, 20 years later, Michael says he is neither unhappy or angry about missing out on this huge Hollywood even, as he did get to travel overseas and promote the movie in various countries. In addition, he attended the BAFTAs (the Oscars equivalent in Britain), as well as won the equivalent of the German and Japanese Oscar for his role.
ust like his character in the movie, he enlisted for the military service and left Hollywood behind. Michael server 4 years as an infantry soldier and was also deployed to Iraq, on a 18-month tour. He was nicknamed “Gump,” as you’d expect.
“Where we were filming was very close to Parris Island, the Marine Training Camp in South Carolina where all the helicopters that were used in the Vietnam scene came from. I would often tell the director and producers how cool I thought all the helicopters were and then one weekend they actually arranged for some of the Marine Corps to take me over to Parris Island and show me the fighter jets. I remember we weren’t allowed to take photos of the F18s and all that stuff. It was basically all the stuff that regular kids my age would never have got the opportunity to do, and I can honestly say that experience directly motivated me to join the military later. It was definitely one of the little perks of working on the movie. The Marine captain who flew the jet in the movie, had just got back from the Gulf War and I still have the patches from his shoulders, which he kindly gave to me. I have never had any regrets about joining the military and I think, compared to some people, I was quite well prepared for it as many of my family members have served in the military over the years. I also got stationed in Germany, which was a big perk for me, as I’d always wanted to be stationed in Europe. When I joined the military I did my best to avoid being recognized or word getting out about the movie, but I think that lasted about two weeks before somebody figured it out.”
According to E! Online, Michael has returned to the big screen, at least for a short while, as soldier in the independent film “Pathfinders: In the Company of Strangers.”
He is currently studying international relations at the University of North Alabama, and says he is unsure about what’s ahead of him, but according to him, he is already on standby for at least a few extra movies projects.
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