Thanks to a highly-entertaining new deepfake video, we now have a pretty good idea of how Forrest Gump might have looked if Pulp Fiction star John Travolta hadn't turned down the role. While it might seem impossible to ever imagine anyone else but Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, a new YouTube video that's starting to go viral has digitally inserted Travolta's face onto Forrest's body. Though the alternate Forrest still has Hanks' unique drawl used for the character in the 1994 movie, the bizarre deepfake video does a great job with showing what could have been, and you can see it for yourself below.
Before Tom Hanks took on the iconic role, John Travolta was the original choice to play the man whose mama always says, "Life is like a box of chocolates." For better or for worse, Travolta declined the role, leaving producers to go back to the drawing board to find their Forrest Gump. Other actors like Chevy Chase and Bill Murray were also considered, and the offer eventually made its way to Hanks. Sensing a golden opportunity overlooked by Travolta and the other actors first offered the part, Hanks would go on to star in Forrest Gump and created one of cinema's most legendary movies in the process.
As for Travolta, things would still turn out pretty well for the Grease and Saturday Night Fever actor. After turning down Forrest Gump, Travolta would instead go on to portray hitman Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino's classic movie Pulp Fiction, a movie that would similarly become quite legendary in its own right. In fact, Hanks and Travolta would compete head-to-head for the Best Actor Oscar for their roles in Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction, but Hanks was the one to walk away with the win. One can't help but wonder if Travolta would have won the Oscar that year if he'd played Mr. Gump instead of Mr. Vega.
In addition to alternate casting choices, deepfake videos can also be used to show what potential reboots of classic movies might look like. One popular deepfake video reimagines Back to the Future with Robert Downey Jr. replacing Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown and Tom Holland replacing Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly. Most fans of the Back to the Future franchise seem to be vehemently against ever rebooting the series, but picturing Downey and Holland in those roles was oddly convincing for a lot of viewers. Of course, this is just one of many examples of deepfakery on the internet at its best, as all kinds of similar videos continue to pop up online.
Fantasy casting like this may not be something we'll ever see happen in real life, but it's really fun to see the alternate possibilities. The deepfake video shown above comes to us from the YouTube channel Shamook. You can also check out their channel for other interesting deepfake videos, including Burt Reynolds as James Bond, Chris Pratt as Indiana Jones, and Will Smith as Neo in The Matrix. If you like their work, keep an eye on that channel, as more deepfake videos like these are soon to come.