Forrest Gump premiered in 1994 and received critical acclaim. The movie starred Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, Robin Wright as Jenny Curran, Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan Taylor, and Sally Field as Mrs. Gump. Hanks went on to win an Academy Award for his portrayal of Forrest, and the movie also won Best Picture at the awards show.
While Hanks’ character was beloved by fans, Wright’s character Jenny polarized viewers. Some fans view her as a villain, and others think she is misunderstood. In a 1994 interview, Wright admitted that she did not view Jenny as a “tragic figure.”
Jenny is a complex character in ‘Forrest Gump’
In Forrest Gump, Forrest is surrounded by characters with complex backstories and motives. Jenny happens to be one of those characters. When Jenny and Forrest first meet they are children, and they quickly become best friends.
Unlike Forrest, Jenny did not grow up in a loving home. Her father abused her, and as she grows up she remains in a cycle of abuse with many romantic partners. Unable to understand Forrest’s unconditional love, she pushes him away repeatedly.
At the end of the film, Jenny reveals that she is sick and Forrest is the father of her young son, Forrest Gump, Jr. She and Forrest move in together and marry. A year later, Jenny dies and Forrest spends his time taking care of their son.
What Robin Wright thinks about Jenny in ‘Forrest Gump’
In 1994, Wright was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times about her role as Jenny in Forrest Gump, her acting projects, and her relationship with Sean Penn. When asked about Jenny, Wright explained how she viewed the character.
“She’s a lost soul who finds herself,” Wright told the Los Angeles Times. “But she is not a tragic figure, at least not more than any other girl going through her 20s and that catharsis. Maybe the difference is that we get to see her through every transformation over 30 years in a movie, as opposed to a therapy session.”
Wright went on to say that while Jenny underwent abuse throughout her life, she eventually learned how to break out of the cycle.
“I hear from older people that, with experience, you feel that things that used to burden you in your 20s don’t anymore. It’s a bit easier to figure things out and not let it abuse you,” Wright said. “… like Jenny (in Gump) has let things abuse her. Even though she knew it was not the right path, she had to do it anyway. That was her fate.”
The director of the movie loved Robin Wright’s portrayal of Jenny
Even though Hanks received the most widespread acclaim for the role of Forrest, Robert Zemeckis, the director of Forrest Gump, found Wright to be the perfect Jenny.
“Robin exudes a kind of strength and, at the same time, a vulnerability. She doesn’t bring any of her stardom to the role. You don’t look at her on-screen and think that this is Robin Wright’s interpretation of the character. She’s a real chameleon,” Zemeckis told the Los Angeles Times.
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